Spring work is proceeding at the University of Idaho's Parma Research and Extension Center as field hands wrap up planting potatoes and sugarbeets and preparing fields for later plantings of corn and other crops.
The center is in its first year of implementing a new five-year research agreement announced in December with the J.R. Simplot Co. The company's support is the largest single new source of funding for the center this growing season. Another five-year agreement with fruit growers provides another $250,000 of support for orchard and vineyard research.
The J.R. Simplot Co. will conduct research on about 13 acres of the 100 acres of cropland this spring in cooperation with university researchers, Thornton said. University crews will also help the company conduct research on about 2 acres of its Arena Valley site.
Last May, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences was preparing to shut down field operations at the center in response to legislative budget reductions unless other support could be found to offset the losses. Political and community support for the center's continued operations helped generate financial support that has the center on firmer footing as this year's growing season advances.