The Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory was established by Congress on August 8, 1912 to respond to the needs of farmers and ranchers of the Northern Plains. Research began in 1914 on vegetables, shrubs, ornamentals, berries, fruits, wheat, flax, forages, grazing management, windbreaks and forestry.
Research programs have changed significantly through the years to address the ever-changing needs of our customers. Programs to evaluate trees and shrubs for windbreaks, to develop methods to reclaim mine-land spoils and to examine the feasibility of dairy production in the Northern Great Plains have been replaced with new long-term research.
Modern lines of research include global climate change, biofuel production, dryland cropping, forage production, and rangeland management. The current vision of the Laboratory is the development of economically and environmentally sustainable integrated crop and livestock management systems to help preserve the family farm.