Mission Statement

MISSION - To serve the people of North Dakota with applied research and education in agriculture and environmental science that will enrich their lives and support economic development.

1. Develop the best available technology in breeding, feeding, management and disease control pertinent to the production of sheep in the state and to incorporate sheep production into best management natural resource preservation systems.

2. Conduct research designed to increase productivity of all agricultural products of the soil while maintaining or improving the soil resource base in southwestern North Dakota by the identification of adapted crop species and superior crop cultivars; propagation and distribution of selected seed stocks; development of profitable cropping systems that achieve the necessary balance between profitability and conservation of all natural resources.

3. Disseminate research results and information for the benefit of the state and to provide suitable outreach of NDSU to the state constituents.

The Hettinger Research Extension Center was established in 1909 with a gift of 160 acres from the City of Hettinger. Early research there focused on crop, dairy and poultry production. Today's emphasis is on crop production and sheep production.

Crop research at the Center addresses crop adaptation to the region. Cropping improvements on farms in the region can be tied to research done at the center. Current research emphasis areas include:

-crop variety testing and grain seedstock production.
-herbicide response and weed control in southwest North Dakota.
-reduced tillage systems and cooperative soils studies.
-winter wheat production.
-alternative crop opportunities.

Sheep numbers have been on a roller coaster in North Dakota and throughout the nation. Loss of the national wool incentive program, increased predator problems, and less overall farm labor for the industry have taken their toll. Its location at the center of 25 percent of the nation's sheep industry puts the Hettinger Research Extension Center in a unique position to help the industry deal with these issues. Research and educational programs are focusing on labor-reducing confinement strategies and ways to reduce losses from predators. The Center is marketing nationally the new SHEEPBUD computer program that staff developed to help producers analyze their whole enterprise. And a project dealing with lean lamb production in the Columbia breed supports North Dakota's position as the top breeder of Columbia sheep. The Center also sells breeding stock to producers. Current sheep studies include:

-reducing lamb mortality.
-off-season breeding in sheep.
-accelerated lambing programs for increased profits.
-feeding sheep North Dakota's new and emerging crops.

New research directions at the Hettinger Research Extension Center focus on rangeland and economic issues. Range research primarily deals with multi-species grazing and aims to improve financial returns on range use and solve problems of invasive weeds such as leafy spurge. Economics work focuses on optimal production and the interaction between crop and livestock enterprises. The state's southern-most research center has about 1,100 acres to do this work, plus additional land owned by cooperators.

Research at the Hettinger Research Extension Center takes a team approach involving NDSU campus faculty, Experiment Station researchers from across the state, industry representatives, producers, other government agencies, and scientists from across the country. Adams County's office of the NDSU Extension Service is also located at the Center. Research findings are distributed through published reports, Extension programs, and Center field days that involve NDSU with the Hettinger community. Sheep Day is the second Wednesday of each February, and Crops Day is the third Thursday of each December. Summer crop tours occur in July.


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