The mission of the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) program is to acquire, document, maintain, evaluate and distribute selected plant genetic resources adapted to long, warm-season and arid conditions, generate and manage associated information, provide a scientific base for its use in research and crop improvement and collaborate with other scientists in research programs incorporating the scientific information in agricultural production.
Established in 1996, the station serves as an alternative regeneration site for long frost-free growing season. It is a priority site for genera of arid land plant species, which are emerging as new industrial crops (Lesquerella, Limnanthes, Opuntia, Parthenium and Simmondsia) or have the potential to be developed into cash crops on poor soils with limited water supply (Hesperaloe), or present a value to arid land soil preservation (Atriplex, Bassia and Yucca). Currently, the holdings of the site include over 1,200 accessions, belonging to 126 different species, from 13 different genera. Among the most important climate specific germplasm preserved at Parlier for other NPGS sites are accessions of non-winter hardy barley (Hordeum sp.) and wheat (Triticum sp.), wild sunflowers (Helianthus sp.), safflowers (Carthamus tinctorius) and a core back up collection of hazelnuts (Corylus sp.).