Established in 1909, Spooner Agricultural Research Station, located just 70 miles south of Superior, Wisconsin, was UW–Madison’s first agricultural research station. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ northernmost facility (USDA Zone 3b), Spooner ARS specializes in agronomy and horticultural crop production research. Part of its Teaching & Display Garden is an official All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden, one of only nine in the state.
Current research crops on the station’s 220 tillable acres include soybeans, corn, oats, barley, Kernza, hazelnuts and switchgrass. Trials for the Department of Horticulture’s Seed to Kitchen Collaborative — from peppers to melons — are also conducted here, utilizing a section of organic land and high-tunnel greenhouses.
A thriving population of black bears occasionally causes crop damage on northern Wisconsin farms, and Spooner ARS is not immune. Over the years, one or two “nuisance bears” have been live trapped on station land and relocated by wildlife authorities. However, 10 were removed just in 2019, according to station superintendent Phil Holman.