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Students farming at the Crop and Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield

Crop and Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield

History

The 358-acre Crop and Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield saw its beginnings in 1961 with the purchase and unification of various private land parcels. Located 8 miles north of campus, the Center runs over 2 miles between Mt. Sugarloaf and the Connecticut River. In 1972, the first ground was broken on a state of the art dairy facility. The UMass Dairy began operation in 1974 with over 150 head. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the Dairy was used for numerous industry research projects as well as providing hands on experience to students on a working dairy farm. In 1995 the Dairy was dissolved due to declining interest in the industry and operations shifted to an emphasis on crop production research.

Current

The Center provides faculty, extension staff, and graduate students with support in applied research on vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture, pest management, pasture management, and natural resource conservation.

 The Center is also home to the student-run “Student Farming Enterprise” that allows undergraduates to gain hands on experience in managing a small organic farm. Produce generated by the student enterprise is sold to local stores as well as a thriving CSA (community supported agriculture) share program.

In addition to crop research and production experiences, the Center is also home to the University’s Belted Galloway cattle herd. Known for their good dispositions, hardiness, and striking appearance, the “Belties” provide students with experience in the management and husbandry of cattle.