North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station


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Following is an abbreviated history of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES)

The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) was established in 1890 (approved by the First Session of the Legislative Assembly of the State of North Dakota, Bismarck). The State of North Dakota approved the establishment of the NDAES according to the Hatch Act, the federal legislation passed in 1887 that established state Experiment Stations. The purpose of the U.S. Hatch Act was “to promote efficient production, marketing distribution and utilization of products of farm as essential to health and welfare of our peoples and….to assure agriculture’s position in research equal to that of industry.”

Currently, the NDAES consists of seven research extension centers located throughout the state and the main station location on the campus of North Dakota State University.  The total acreage of the research extension centers and the main station comprise approximately 20,000 acres.  Much of the property of the research extension centers was donated to the state by local communities.

Research Plot

A timeline of some of the significant events and personnel in the history of the NDAES follows.


  • North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) established at Fargo, ND   
  • C.B. Waldron appointed as first faculty member of NDAES; served NDSU for 55 years
  • H. L. Bolley joined NDAES as botanist and plant pathologist; served as first coach of NDAC football team


  • Horace E. Stockbridge, first NDAES Director

NDAES Director - Stockbridge, Horace
Horace E. Stockbridge


    • North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) established at Fargo, ND; Offices were located on the 3rd floor over the Red River Bank on 11 Broadway, Fargo


    • John H. Worst, NDAES Director

    NDAES Director - Worst, John
    John H. Worst


      • First sub-station constructed at Edgeley, ND (closed in 1969)


      • Dickinson, ND Experiment Station established for agricultural and grass research


      • Williston, ND Experiment Station established for irrigated crops and dryland farming practices research


      • First greenhouse erected for Fargo Experiment Station scientists


      • Langdon, ND Experiment Station established
      • Hettinger, ND Experiment Station established


      • Thomas Cooper, NDAES Director

      NDAES Director - Cooper, Thomas
      Thomas Cooper


        • C.B. Waldron chosen to be Dean of Agriculture at NDAC; L.R. Waldron appointed as Fargo Experiment Station plant breeder


        • Wanda Weniger appointed plant pathologist with the ND Agricultural Experiment Station (first woman faculty member of the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station)


          • P. F. Trowbridge, NDAES Director

          NDAES Director - Trowbridge, PF
          P. F. Trowbridge


            • Morrill Hall built on Fargo campus; current home of NDAES and home to many Departments within the College throughout the years


            • H. L. Walster, NDAES Director

            NDAES Director - Walster, Harlow
            H. L. Walster


              • H. C. Hanson, NDAES Director

              NDAES Director - Hanson, HC
              H. C. Hanson


                • H. L. Walster, NDAES Director

                NDAES Director - Walster, Harlow
                H. L. Walster


                  • North Central Experiment Station at Minot, ND was established


                  • Agronomy Seed Farm, Casselton, ND was established


                  • Williston Research Station relocated to present site
                  • Soil Testing Lab started at NDAC


                  • Glenn C. Holm, NDAES Director

                  NDAES Director - Holm, Glenn
                  Glenn C. Holm


                    • Arlon G. Hazen, NDAES Director; served as acting NDAC President from June, 1961 to January, 1962

                    NDAES Director - Hazen, Arlon
                    Arlon G. Hazen


                      • Carrington Experiment Station established at Carrington, ND, as Carrington Irrigation Branch Station
                      • North Dakota Agricultural College becomes North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences


                      • First center pivot irrigation system in North Dakota installed at the Carrington Irrigation Station


                      • Oakes Irrigation Research Site established in Oakes, ND as part of the Carrington Station


                      • H. Roald Lund, NDAES Director

                      NDAES Director - Lund, H.R.
                      H. Roald Lund


                        • Central Grasslands Research Station established at Streeter, ND


                        • Land Research Reclamation Research Center opened in Mandan, ND (closed 1995)


                        • First Research Extension Center established at the Carrington Experiment Station


                        • Wheat Plot No. 2 and Flax Plot No. 30 on Main Station gain entry into the National Register of Historic Places


                        • Robert Todd, NDAES Director

                        NDAES Director - Todd, Robert
                        Robert Todd


                          • State Board of Agricultural Research (SBAR) established by ND Legislature; Law changed in 1999 legislative session to include the NDSU Extension Service - to become State Board of Agricultural Research and Education (SBARE); Director of NDAES is a standing member of committee


                          • Patricia Jensen, NDAES Director

                          NDAES Director - Jensen, Pat
                          Patricia Jensen


                            • Ken Grafton, NDAES Director

                            NDAES Director - Grafton, Ken
                            Ken Grafton


                              • Initial construction began on the AES Greenhouse facility, located west of 18th Street, north of the historic wheat plots and south of the Animal Nutrition Physiology Center.


                              • The Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics moves into the new Richard H. Barry Hall which was dedicated on October 2, 2009.


                              • The Beef Cattle Research Complex was dedicated in 2011. It is a state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the needs of beef cattle research at NDSU well into the future. The center allows NDSU to accomplish the vast array of research needed to meet the challenges of 21st century beef cattle production. The complex consists of a feeding area, animal handling area, calving pens, office and laboratory space, and feed storage and mixing area covering 22,900 sq. feet.


                              • NDSU Great Plains Land-Grant Summit commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act.

                              The Morrill Act, establishing land-grant institutions in the U.S., was signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862. This law created opportunities for millions of citizens to have access to higher education.  This was a revolutionary thought at the time, but one that was needed for the country to grow and take advantage of the Industrial Revolution and the Agricultural Revolution that occurred in the 19th century.  Also, this and other legislative acts, principally the Hatch Act in 1887 and the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, along with the Second Morrill Act in 1890 and the 1994 Higher Education Reauthorization Act established the land-grant system with which we are now so familiar.

                              • This year also marked the 125th anniversary of the Hatch Act, the federal legislation establishing the state Experiment Stations.


                              • H. R. Lund Atrium Dedication - Dec. 19, 2013.  Because of H. Roald Lund's outstanding leadership in agricultural research and academics at NDSU, the name of the atrium in Loftsgard Hall was changed to the H. R. Lund Atrium.


                              • NDAES Research Greenhouse Complex Dedication - Nov. 13, 2015.  The NDAES held a dedication to celebrate the completion of the last phase of construction on the NDAES Research Greenhouse Complex. The NDAES Research Greenhouse Complex is a state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the needs of plant research at NDSU. It was constructed using a combination of state dollars and private donations, which totaled $33.5 million - $28.5 million in appropriated funds and $5 million in donations.
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