Williston Research Extension Center


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Williston Research Extension Center



The Williston Research Extension Center (WREC), established in 1907 and relocated to the present site in 1954, is an 800-acre rain-fed farm located in northwest North Dakota near the city of Williston. In 2001, an additional 160 acres were purchased in the Nesson Valley and an irrigated research and development project was established.  WREC research studies are conducted on crop variety evaluation, herbicide performance and other cultural management research, cropping systems and soil and water conservation practices.  The main dryland crops are spring wheat and durum.  Barley, oats, safflower, pea, lentil, chickpea, canola, flax, alfalfa and other alternative crops are also grown as cash crops or for livestock feed.

WREC research is intended to increase the producer's net profit, support crop diversification, and encourage more intensive cropping and irrigation development.  Research on soil and crop management systems for sprinkler irrigation, on alternative irrigated high value and value-added crops and on western malting barley programs are conducted for the region.  WREC also conducts variety development research on safflower, winter wheat, and durum and variety evaluations in cooperation with NDSU Main Station scientists.  WREC produces and supplies foundation seed to area farmers of new and old varieties adapted to the region.


The Williston Research Extension Center conducts research to increase agricultural productivity in the semi-arid region for northwestern North Dakota while achieving a necessary balance between profitability and conservation of natural resources.

Research on soil and crop management systems for sprinkler irrigation and alternative irrigated high-value/value-added crop production at the Nesson Valley site are conducted in cooperation with the Montana State University Eastern Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, and NDSU and other university scientists.

Research Program

The research program at the WREC emphasizes crop adaptation and crop variety testing. More than 25 crops are evaluated on dryland and irrigation including wheat, durum, barley, oat, pea, lentil, chickpea, safflower, drybean, flax, soybean, canola, crambe, sunflower, potatoes, sugar beets, and others. Evaluation and identification of superior varieties will sustain production and enhance crop diversity. The program also evaluates crop cultural practices, cropping systems, and soil and water conservation practices that will support more intensive cropping practices and impact production input efficiency and promote effective an efficient managemant strategies.

Nesson Valley aerial viewThe WREC, in cooperation with the EARC, conducts breeding and variety testing on safflower, hard red winter wheat, durum, and high value/value added crops in an effort to enhance production of these crops in the MonDak region. Foundation seed production for area distribution of new and popular older varieties is also a major part of the WREC's program.


In response to the growing interest in irrigation, the WREC expanded its research and extension efforts to include irrigated high value crops. A High Value Crop Area Extension Specialist was added to the staff at the WREC.  The goal of the new irrigation project located at Nesson Valley is to advance irrigation practices and develop alternative cropping systems that will improve water, nutrient and pest management.

Jerry Bergman,
Director Williston Research Extension Center

14120 Highway 2
Williston, ND 58801
701-774-4315 phone
701-774-4307 fax


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