|Hildreth, John - RETIRED|
Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2009
Publication Date: February 7, 2009
Citation: Booth, D.T., Hildreth, J. 2009. A.C. Hildreth: initiating usda agricultural research in cheyenne. Around Cheyenne 2(3):72-73. Technical Abstract: Eight months after the October, 1929 Stock Market crash, 36-year-old Aubrey Claire Hildreth resigned his position at the University of Maine Agricultural Station and left the blueberries and cranberries of Orono, Maine, to travel with his family to Cheyenne to assume the duties of Station Superintendent, Cheyenne Horticultural Field Station. Dr. Hildreth’s mission was to build the USDA research program and initiate the first formal High Plains horticultural research. By 1932, he was reporting that 866 fruit trees had been planted in a 1931 dry-land test for hardy tree-fruit varieties and that 70 percent were still alive in 1932. This survival rate appears to have surprised him since he specifically noted in the 1932 annual report that the plantings “…included many varieties not (thought) adapted to prairie conditions…” By the end of 1933, Hildreth recorded nearly 6,000 accessions or entries that had been added to the station plant collections and studies. Dr. Hildreth’s primary life work of initiating and maintaining problem-solving USDA agricultural research at Cheyenne is a priceless heritage that continues to benefit the citizens of the Rocky Mountain region, and the nation. In 1974, the Station was renamed a 3rd time to reflect a change in research emphasis and a focus on problems in rangeland ecology and management. Today, Station scientists are at the forefront in solving problems related to reclamation of lands disturbed by mining and energy extraction, rangeland monitoring, profitable grazing management that addresses conservation concerns, invasive species, and global climate change. The products of USDA-ARS research at the High Plains Grassland Research Station continue in the problem-solving tradition of Dr. A.C. Hildreth.