Research and Education Farms and Facilities
People typically think of scientists working away at their lab benches. But many scientists work in the field. For agricultural scientists, research farms are often their laboratories, and they also double as classroom and outreach demonstration facilities. As a land-grant university, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst has a long history of supporting agriculture within the Commonwealth. The UMass Farms once centered at the UMass (Mass Aggie) campus have moved to outlying areas as the campus grew in size to 30,000+ students now at the flagship UMass Amherst Campus. The farms cover the broad agricultural commodities found in Massachusetts and New England and are supported by State, Federal appropriated funds and grants and grants from the private sector.
The 215-acre farm is the primary location for tree- and small-fruit research at the University. It also is the hands-on laboratory for all courses related to tree and small fruit and is the venue for regular extension education programs. Faculty, extension educators, technicians, farm-crew members, and numerous summer employees work together to make this farm the premier pomology facility in New England.
The 11-acre station does research on entomology, plant pathology, weed science, pest management, plant nutrition and horticulture and works with commercial cranberry growers. Some projects are biological control of weeds with a fungal disease and flooding to control insects and weeds that damage the fruit. The farm is considered an international leader in integrated pest management for cranberry growers and has developed for distribution ecologically based pest management practices for them.
The 358-acre agronomy and vegetable farm conducts research on ethnic and other vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture and pasture. The farm has a student-run vegetable project and also trains students in artificial insemination of cattle. Faculty, extension staff, and graduate students conduct applied research and are assisted by talented technicians, field staff and undergraduate students.
The 131-acre UMass Equine and Livestock Research and Education Farm houses the UMass equine, sheep, swine and goat programs. It is geared mostly toward providing hands-on experience to undergraduates in animal sciences. Students in the equine program compete nationally and two were grooms for the Gold Medal-winning U.S. equitation team in the 2000 Olympics. The farm also has an outreach program to help owners improve the care of their animals. Full-time workers and students provide labor to run the farm.
The 20-acre research facility focuses on golf courses and lawn turf with experiments ranging from testing varieties of turf grass, to water usage, nutrition, wear of sports on turf, biological control of insects and weeds and low temperature disease control. The farm has a new support building, is irrigated and well supported by the turf industry.