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The Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab

Street view of NPARLResearch Leaders & Mission Statements

• History of NPARL


Located near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, NPARL is in the heart of the "Mon-Dak" region. Eastern Montana and western North Dakota are rich in history and agricultural potential. The "Corps of Discovery," the official name of Lewis and Clark's expedition, camped in the area in both their outward and return journeys. The NPARL, and its partners, are a new 'corps of discovery,' contributing to the region's on-going agricultural expansion and diversification.


The Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, MT is one of more than 120 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities. ARS is the in-house research agency for the United States Dept. of Agriculture, and conducts research to solve agricultural problems of a high national priority.  

The NPARL mission is to develop ecologically based strategies, technologies, and products for the sustainable management of crops and rangeland, and natural resource systems. Current research is focused on three main areas: biological control of selected noxious weeds, insect pests and fungal pathogens; the ecology and management of grasshoppers; and development of sustainable irrigated and dryland agricultural production systems. In addition to providing new knowledge, this research is catalyzing the development of improved management practices for sustainable agricultural and rangeland production systems in the Northern Great Plains.

Personnel at the NPARL include sixteen research scientists and more than thirty technicians, support scientists, visiting scientists, post doctoral and administrative personnel.  They are evenly divided between the Agricultural Systems Research Unit and the Pest Management Research Unit and numerous college and high school students also join the staff during the summer growing season.






Research Leaders and Mission Statements



Dr. Wm. Bart Stevens
Agricultural Systems Research Unit
(ASRU) Research Leader & 
Research Agronomist


Phone: 406.433.9476  FAX: 406.433.5038


Dr. David Branson
Pest Management Research Unit
(PMRU) Acting Research Leader & Research 

Phone: 406.433.9406  FAX: 406.433.5038



ASRU Mission Statement:

The mission of the Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU) is to develop diversified irrigated and dryland cropping systems that enhance soil and water quality, conserve natural resources, and reduce dependence on agrochemicals in the Upper Missouri River Basin and the nation; to develop and transfer innovative technologies that improve the economic and environmental viability of traditional and non-traditional agricultural enterprises; and to provide leadership for interdisciplinary teams and collaborative partnerships.

PMRU Mission Statement:

Develop and implement ecologically based strategies, technologies, and products for the sustainable management of insects pests and weeds in crops and rangeland. Emphasis is on biological and cultural management strategies that enhance profitability and environmental quality.


Read the History of NPARL