The Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (WSU-IAREC) is the focal point for the University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) research, extension, and plant certification programs that address the concerns of irrigated agriculture. An estimated two-thirds of the agricultural production in the state comes from irrigated land, making such research of vital interest to Washington’s economy, both for intrastate distribution and exportation.
IAREC hosts 16 University scientists and employs about 200 administrative, classified, and hourly support staff, and is one of the four research and Extension Centers located within the WSU-CAHNRS system. The research scientists and Extension specialists represent six disciplines, utilizing multidisciplinary research and Extension; focus on irrigated agricultural commodities and production systems relevant to the Columbia Basin and South-central Washington. IAREC scientists also mentor over 40 graduate students. IAREC hosts AgWeatherNet, the Clean Plant Center Northwest (housing the National Clean Plant Center for tree fruit, grapes and hops), Office the State IPM Coordinator, the Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems, and is a partner of the WSU Wine Science Center. In addition to WSU personnel, IAREC houses 8 scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and scientists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. This provides a unique opportunity for multi-agency collaboration on important research endeavors.
The primary areas of research at IAREC include: technology-intensive agriculture; biologically intensive and organic agriculture; perennial horticultural production including selected plant breeding programs; irrigated cropping and animal systems; plant protection from diseases and pests; disease forecasting; viticulture and enology; and bioproducts and biofuels. Funding of IAREC-based research and Extension exceeds $8.5million annually, which includes appropriated funds from federal and state sources, as well as grants and contracts from a variety of commodity groups and grant sources.
Facilities at WSU-IAREC include: (1) The H.P. Singleton Headquarters Unit, a 191-acre site, is located five miles northeast of Prosser, Washington. It consists of laboratory and office buildings, greenhouses, dormitory, cold storage facilities, and other support facilities. The Singleton campus also includes Hamilton Hall and dedicated facilities for viticulture and enology, precision agriculture, agricultural weather, and hop research. Field research sites are available on approximately 120 acres, under gravity, trickle and pressure irrigation systems. (2) The Roza Unit, a 320-acre site, is located 3 miles north of the H.P. Singleton Headquarters and provides WSU-IAREC scientists with field research sites having pressure, trickle or gravity irrigation systems. (3) The Othello Unit, a 427-acre site, is located 80 miles northeast of Prosser within the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project near the town of Othello, Washington. This unit provides field research sites for faculty from the Biological Systems Engineering, Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and departments at WSU-Pullman. Cooperative projects exist at this site with the Washington State Crop Improvement Association to provide controlled locations for seed increase. Farming and irrigation services for all sites are provided by the farm operations team.