A research farm is the top priority for Cereal Crops Research Institute, a small group of northeast Texas farmers who joined forces back in 1987 to help direct research activities at nearby East Texas State University, now Texas A&M-Commerce, to work on specific needs of the area’s producers.

Securing that research farm will make other research priorities more attainable.

The organization has shown its willingness to help. By the end of 2010 CCRI will have donated more than $1 million into research projects, says CCRI President Ben Scholz, a McKinney, Texas, grain farmer and businessman and also an alumnus of the university.

Scholz, who has led the organization since 1987, says CCRI currently includes 19 members, mostly farmers from the Texas Blacklands. He and others will meet with Texas A&M AgriLife Research officials in October to evaluate the possibility of a partnership between CCRI, Texas A&M-Commerce and Texas A&M at College Station to secure that research farm near the Commerce campus.

 

Priority No. 1

“All the directors identified the need for a research farm as the number one priority to move this cooperative research program forward,” Scholz said.

Currently, scientists from AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension, and TAMU-Commerce conduct research on farms rented by CCRI or on grower/cooperators’ fields. “This approach is attractive for some studies — it spreads the risk of adverse weather, for instance. This is desirable, especially for variety evaluation in conventional crops, but it is unsuitable for long term studies on management inputs and alternative crops.”

Scholz said land currently available on a long term basis also is not prime cropland.  “Houston Black Clay and Leson Clay soils are considered to be the most productive in this region. However, all of the farms under university or CCRI control are primarily Wilson Silt or Crockett Loam, marginal soils in the region.”