ARS Grazinglands Lab in Oklahoma Celebrates
Anniversary By Sharon Durham October 20, 2008
EL RENO, OklahomaFestivities to commemorate the 60th anniversary
of the Agricultural Research Service
Research Laboratory here are being held today at the historic Fort Reno
Parade Grounds located at the center of the 11-square-mile facility. The
celebration includes bus tours of the facility, reenactments of life at the
historic fort during the 1880s, and a dinner.
ARS is a scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"Since the lab was established, the researchers at El Reno have played
a crucial role in supporting livestock producers with new technologies to help
them operate more efficiently and profitably, while minimizing environmental
impacts," said USDA Research, Education and
Economics Under Secretary
Buchanan. ARS Administrator
B. Knipling is also scheduled to address the attendees.
Participants in today's events include Congressional leaders, deans of
agricultural colleges, regional agricultural leaders, researchers, agricultural
producers and former employees of the El Reno lab.
The lab's mission is to develop technology that will allow producers
to integrate crop, forage and livestock production into a sustainable system
under variable climate, energy and market conditions. The lab is divided into
two research groups.
and Livestock Production Research Unit looks for solutions that will help
land resource managers produce a near-continuous supply of high-quality forages
that can be converted into nutrient-rich lean red meat for human consumption,
or harvested for conversion into bio-fuels. Scientists in that unit also work
to identify or develop perennial cool-season grasses and legumes to decrease
the cost of forage production, reduce the need for fossil fuel inputs and add
diversity to farming.
Scientists at the lab's
Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit seek to quantify
interactive effects of land use, agricultural management, climate and the water
cycle on agricultural and hydrologic systems. They are also evaluating and
adapting seasonal climate forecasts and developing risk-based decision support
tools for agricultural and natural resource management.
In conjunction with the 60th anniversary, a conference called "Farming with Grass: Achieving
Sustainable Mixed Agricultural Landscapes in Grasslands Environments" is
being held October 20-22 in Oklahoma City. The conference is hosted by the
Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS).
For questions or additional information regarding the conference,
please contact Alan Franzluebbers, Program Committee Chair, at
or Dewayne Johnson, SWCS Professional Development Director, at