The Marshfield Agricultural Research Station is at the Heart of America’s Dairyland, and not just because it’s located close to the geographic center of Wisconsin. In the 100 years since it was established, scientists there have developed or refined a long list of innovations that are now standard practice on dairy farms across the state and beyond. And as the station rolls into its second century, it’s reputation and influence as a source of new ideas for dairy farm management is only going to grow. It is now home to one the world’s foremost dairy heifer research programs, and to the new Institute for Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management, a federal program focused on developing economically and environmentally sound dairy management systems. The IEIDM is operated by the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Dairy Forage Research Center in partnership with the UW-Madison. The Marshfield station houses 540 dairy heifers and 120 cows used by both UW-Madison and USDA scientists.
On Aug. 16 people from the local community joined local, state and federal officials to celebrate both the Marshfield station’s centennial and the dedication of facilities for the IEIDM. Among the speakers were U.S. Sen. Herbert Kohl, who was instrumental in obtaining funding for the IEIDM, as well as Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer, CALS Dean Kate VandenBosch, DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel, Dairy Forage Research Center director Neal Martin, State Sen. Terry Moulton, State Rep. Scott Suder, USDA-ARS midwest area director Robert Matteri, and USDA Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska.
The event included two ceremonies, both of which can be viewed online at the website of Marshfield Community TV. Go here to see the ribbon-cutting at the new USDA labs at the station’s original location in Marshfield. Go here to see the “rededication” ceremony at the station’s north farm, where the cows and heifer research takes place.
For more on the event, see this article in the Marshfield News-Herald.