Continued involvement with the community, and with partners such as CCRI will add to that unprecedented growth. “We want to be in front of the train,” Jones said.

Swart hopes the new efforts will continue to feed into the College of Agriculture and the first indication may be the student practicum, a special program that gives ag students an opportunity to make a crop as part of their curriculum. That program has been supported by CCRI.

“We’ll ramp that program back up beginning this fall,” Swart said. “Some students will make a wheat crop.”

Scholz said CCRI has seen benefits over the years from its collaboration with Texas A&M-Commerce. “We’ve gotten a lot of data on fungicide treatments on wheat. We’ve also seen results on ryegrass control studies and projects have helped us stay on top of new products.”

He said a “whole-farm concept has helped area farmers adjust seeding rates and variety selections.”

“Researchers are more in tune with what growers need.” Early on, CCRI went to Jim Swart or recently retired agronomist Don Reid, discussed problems and they set up trials to find answers, Scholz said.

“Those collaborative efforts helped to address needs and interests in the region,” he said.

Jones hopes to expand on those efforts as the region and the university grows. And Scholz expects CCRI to continue to contribute to Texas A&M- Commerce research efforts. Since 1987, they have funneled more than $1 million into the program. Funds have been generated through crop sales, grants and product donations.

And CCI will continue to serve as something of a sounding board, cattle prod and cheerleader as the university goes forward.

“I don’t think there is anything else like CCRI in the country,” Scholz said. “And I believe it could be a model for the nation to follow to improve collaboration between growers and institutions.”