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Central Iowa Research and Demonstration Farms

Map of Central Iowa Research and Demonstration Farms located in Story and Boone CountiesLocation

Story and Boone counties


Approximately 8,200 acres.


  • Iowa State University
  • City of Ames
  • Committee For Agricultural Development, a nonprofit corporation organized in 1943, that works to increase and distribute seed of crop varieties developed by researchers at experiment stations in the North Central Region and the USDA.
  • ISU Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt Iowa corporation, that is the official fund-raising organization for ISU. It manages donated assets for the benefit of ISU in accordance with donor wishes.


A tractor works the soil.Agricultural land owned by ISU and its affiliates provides room for future growth of research programs and the university’s infrastructure.

In addition to research, the agricultural land also is used for demonstrations, feed production for livestock and as areas to spread manure. Affiliate ownership of a large portion of this land keeps it on the local tax rolls and provides greater flexibility in buying and selling property.


Terrain is gently sloping, broken by a rectangular gridwork of roads and fields. Much of the land is drained by tile and ditches because the land has poor natural drainage. Some predominant soils are Clarion, Nicollet and Webster.

Research and Demonstration

The Experiment Station manages and assigns its farmland to faculty and project leaders based on their research needs. The projects encompass a variety of disciplines, including: agronomy, animal science, agricultural and biosystems engineering, horticulture, forestry, ecology, entomology and plant pathology. In addition researchers at the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station use land for research.

Animal science department. This department uses a number of farm sites for teaching and research.
• The Animal Science Teaching Complex includes several farm sites located south of Ames and is used for laboratory classes, applied research and demonstrations of production systems with beef, sheep, swine and horses.
• The Beef Nutrition Research Farm, located north of Ames, provides continuing research on management and nutritional needs of ruminants, especially beef cattle.
• The Dairy Science Farm, located south of campus, opened in 2007. The farm is used for dairy breeding, nutrition and related research. Dairy cattle from this herd are used in classes.
• The Lauren Christian Swine Research Center at the Bilsland Farm, located near Madrid, is used to study the importance of genetic variation in economic traits of swine.
• The Swine Nutrition Research Farm, located west of Ames, was completed in 1993. It is used to study nutrition and management techniques to improve feed utilization, lean tissue gain, animal well-being and meat quality of pigs.
• The Poultry Science Farm is a complex located south of Ames and is used to study nutrition and genetics of turkeys and chickens.
• The Zumwalt Station Farm is located southwest of Ames and is the site of research related to odor characterization, dietary manipulation and effects of environment on animals.

For more information on animal science research conducted at sites in central Iowa, call (515) 294-2160.



For current progress reports refer to Ag Engineering/Agronomy

  • A map of Central Iowa Research and Demonstration FarmsThe 50-acre Hinds Irrigation Plots, located on a flat, well-drained area north of Ames, is the primary irrigated farm available to ISU researchers.
  • The Animal Resource Station is a 160- acre farm located south of Ames. This unit is under the administrative direction of the Vice President for Research and supports university programs by housing a variety of animal species. For more information, call (515) 294-8507.
  • The Ag 450 Farm has been managed by students since 1943, serving as a laboratory for students enrolled in Agricultural Education and Studies 450, Farm Management and Operation. The farm includes 266 acres of ISU-owned land, additional rented property and a swine operation. For more information, call (515) 294-6924.
  • The North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, a joint USDAISU facility located south of Ames, uses 120 acres of ISU-owned land for preservation, evaluation and distribution efforts. A variety of crops is grown. The facility maintains a germplasm collection of about 1,000 species and 40,000 accessions (different samples of plant material). For more information, call (515) 294-3255.
  • The Committee for Agricultural Development (CAD) owns a number of farms in Story and Boone counties. These farms are used for seed increase, research plots and large-scale research projects. CAD is an affiliate of the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • The ISU Compost Facility was constructed in 2008 for composting organic waste materials (10,000 tons annually). The organic wastes processed include manure and bedding from ISU farms, primarily the dairy farm, campus yard waste, campus greenhouse materials, ISU Dining food waste and biomass research organic wastes.


Farm Reports

View farm progress reports grouped by farm

View farm progress reports grouped by year