UNL wheat research center has global goals

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 12:00 am

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A new research center in Perkins County will have global implications.

Construction is expected to begin in May on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Henry J. Stumpf International Wheat Center, about a mile northeast of Grant. Ground was broken on the project March 21.

Marvin Stumpf III, a farmer from Grant, donated a section of land for the research center as well as $1 million toward a building. The total value of the gift was more than $3 million.

“Marvin made everything possible,” said Don Adams, director of the West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte. “He has interest in making sure his family’s name is represented and associated with crops in that area. He’s also interested in the extension aspect. The building is named in honor of his father.”

Adams said the goal is to have the center open by December.

Chief Construction Co. of Grand Island is in charge of the project.

The Perkins County Extension Office will move out of the courthouse and into the wheat center. Two employees will be hired — an agronomist and a youth educator.

Technicians, scientists and graduate students from across the state will use the facility. The center will be open to the public for tours, field days, workshops and meetings.

A quarter of the land is irrigated with a center pivot. The rest consists of dryland crops. As a result, demonstrations about irrigated and non-irrigated methods of farm production will be offered.

“Farmers will actually be able to go into the field and see the research being done,” Adams said.

The information produced will have an impact not just on local farmers, but also on those around the globe. Students from other countries will study at the center and data gathered from the research will be published in scientific journals.

“Water is one of the big issues internationally,” Adams said. “The efficiency of water in crop use is something people everywhere are interested in.”

The hope is that the creation of jobs will also help stimulate the local economy.

“The venture is really exciting for everyone involved,” Adams said. “We think the benefits will be huge.”

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