Agricultural Research Center
The Agricultural Research Center, located in Hays, Kansas, is a unit of K-State Research and Extension.
The research program is focused on agricultural production challenges specific to the region. Those include beef cattle production, cultural and management methods for most of the major crops grown in Kansas, mitigation of the effects of weed, insect, and disease pests associated with those crops, and genetic improvement of specific crops. The research agenda is coordinated with other KAES units to assure allocation of resources to priority issues, standardization of methods, and elimination of unwarranted redundancy.
Service Area / Region of Focus
Hays is located at the approximate center of four of the nine Kansas crop reporting districts (NC, NW, WC, C). The Center’s program is focused geographically on the rainfed agriculture typical of this region, climatically on the 18- to 26-inch precipitation belt, and ecologically on the short- and midgrass prairies. Nevertheless, research results are frequently applicable state-wide, nationally, and internationally. Target clientele include crop and beef cattle producers and county agricultural extension agents.
There are 8 research faculty located at Hays. Faculty expertise is complemented by 23 full-time support staff including clerical, maintenance, and crop and livestock technician classifications. Student workers are hired for the summer field season. To learn more, please visit our faculty and staff page.
Facilities / Land Resources
The research facility at Hays includes the Center’s headquarters consisting of 33 buildings and land that is used for research and production of foundation seed wheat or grain, hay, and silage for experimental cattle. A research feedlot with a permitted, one-time capacity of 900 head and a modern feedmill are located on site for use in cattle feeding research. A greenhouse complex makes possible the continuation of crop improvement and testing during winter months
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Funding comes from a variety of sources including state appropriations (salaries and wages, operating, supplemental allocations for equipment and maintenance), crop and cattle sales (fees), grants, and gifts.
Kansas State University (KSU) agricultural programs include off-campus research units under the auspices of the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station (KAES). These units are located strategically throughout the state to enhance contact with the people of Kansas, extend local services to clientele beyond the main campus, and broaden the focus to encompass a greater degree of diversity in climate and soils. The KSU Agricultural Research Centers-Hays is composed of two satellite units including the, H.B. Ranch and Saline Experimental Range.
The Fort Hays Branch of the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station was authorized by state statute in 1901. It was made possible by a land grant from the U.S. Government consisting of approximately half of the old Fort Hays military reservation. On 1 July 1994, the name was officially changed to the KSU Agricultural Research Center—Hays. Concurrently, administrative operations were merged with those of the Southwest Research-Extension Center at Garden City, the Southwest Research Center at Tribune, and the Northwest Research-Extension Center at Colby. Administrative and business operations are centralized at Hays.
The Agriculture Research Center-Hays, celebrated its 100-Year History (PDF) in 2001. The research center developed an extensive research chronology (PDF) to highlight a long list of accomplishments. In addition, the station brochure was updated to highlight our current mission and research projects.
Big Creek Natural Area
A natural area along Big Creek was established in 1997 by the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center—Hays. The goal is to preserve this area as an outdoor laboratory and classroom for future generations. It is the last remnant of a relatively undisturbed riparian system dating back to the old Fort Hays reservation.
The Center has a long tradition of allowing educational activities in the area including those sponsored by high school and university science classes. If you would like to access the Big Creek Natural Area, contact the KSU Ag Research Center.