For several decades, every time legislators cut federal and state budgets, agricultural research and Extension programs bled a little, losing a program here, an employee there, or a needed piece of equipment or facility somewhere else. By the mid-1980s, agricultural colleges had to scrounge for funds to augment state and federal money that no longer fully supported demands for both basic and applied research. Industry helped, but research still needed a system to assure credibility, funds with no strings attached.

Most institutions continue to look. But a group of Northeast Texas farmers, concerned that unique conditions in their area would generate little research funding, decided to create an entity to determine research and educational needs and develop a means to help finance special projects.

In 1987, we founded Cereal Crops Research Incorporated (CCRI) and began working with scientists at nearby East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) and Texas AgriLife Extension. We formed a 501c3 non-profit corporation designed to foster cooperation between Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas AgriLife Extension, County Government, and more recently, Texas AgriLife Research, for the betterment of taxpayers and young people in Northeast Texas. 

According to agribusiness leaders, there is no organization quite like CCRI anywhere in the United States.   To date, CCRI has generated over a million dollars to support the collaborative effort.  CCRI hopes to establish a model program that can be used to stabilize funding for universities and agencies across the United States. Ourarticles of incorporation state that CCRI has two primary objectives: 1) to provide financial support for locally relevant applied agricultural research, and 2) to demonstrate management techniques on a field scale that have been proven in small plot research trials.  In 1996, we developed a vision statement that expanded our mission.  In it we stated the following goals:

1.  CCRI dreams of being able to support active research in all applicable areas of crop production in this region.  This means having all of the necessary staff, helpers, and finances to address the pressing problems. CCRI’s goal is to be able to help every crop producer in the region receive an answer to hisor herquestions.

2.  CCRI wants to be involved in the education of our young people.  The Directors visualize:  a) involvement in graduate and undergraduate research projects, b) providing the opportunity for valuable, applied, “hands on” experience, c) creating student employment opportunities.

3. CCRI is committed to helping develop young people who have a positive image and a functional knowledge of agricultural production.  We believe these young people will have a better opportunity to become successful producers, find employment in the associated industries, and provide the agricultural leadership for tomorrow.

Four years ago, CCRI aggressively pursued an expanded partnership with Texas AgriLife Research, and helped facilitate relocation of AgriLife Research personnel to the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus.  Texas AgriLife Research is now an integral part of the overall program.