By SAMANTHA TIPLER
H&N Staff Reporter
Herald and News
July 12, 2012
The University of California Intermountain Research and Extension Center will give visitors a chance to get a first-hand look at research projects and the center’s history at its 65th annual field day on Thursday, July 26.
“We’re very integrated into the community,” said Laurie Askew, cooperative extension coordinator at IREC. “This really gives the area farmers, merchants and industry people a chance to see the actual trials. It’s one thing to see something on paper, but to see the actual plants is wonderful for these people.”
IREC sits just four miles south of the Oregon-California state line, at 4,040-foot elevation. It makes for a short growing season, IREC’s website says.
Potatoes, a cash crop in the region, is a major research subject at IREC, as are barley, wheat, onions, forage grasses, peppermint and alfalfa. The center researches weeds, insects, disease control, water management and plant nutrition.
To celebrate 65 years in existence, the IREC field day will include old photos and records from its history.
Daily weather records have been kept there since 1960, the website says, and an automated CIMIS weather station has been operating since 1989.
IREC also has a 700-square-foot greenhouse, a potato storage facility, an electronic potato grading line, a peppermint oil mini still, a seed cleaning and handling room and a seed storage room.
A good time
The field day attracts people in agriculture from both Oregon and California. It appeals to growers, industry representatives, administrators from the University of California and all different kinds of people involved in crop agriculture, Askew said.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie,” she said. “People see old friends and meet new friends.”
The day starts with registration, then everyone climbs aboard a hay ride to visit the different trials and research stations on site. Askew said it stops at all the topics on the list, so chances are there is something to appeal to any avenue of local agriculture.
“They get the opportunity to look right at the plants and see how they’re growing, how they’re responding to different treatments,” she said. “It also gives people a chance to see how things compare.”
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