The Southern Agricultural Research Center (SARC) near Huntley, Montana, is one of seven facilities that make up the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Research Center System.
"To conduct and promote studies, scientific investigations and experiments relating to agriculture, natural resources and rural life and to diffuse information thereby acquired among the people of Montana", as defined by state statue. We are part of the research component of Montana State University-Bozeman. We conduct agronomic research and education programs for agriculture in the dryland and irrigated areas of south central Montana.
The Southern Agricultural Research Center is a 462 acre facility located in the heart of the Huntley-Worden Irrigation District, which resides along the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles east of Billings, Montana. Created as a demonstration farm by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1907, the farm evolved into a USDA Bureau of Plant Industries Field Station cooperating with Montana State College and the MAES in 1910. Ownership of the station was formally transferred from the USDA Agricultural Research Service to the State of Montana by a Congressional Patent in 1953. Formal USDA-ARS involvement with SARC ended in 1963. Closed to meet budgetary constraints in 1995, SARC was reopened by the MAES and Montana State University on a limited basis in February, 1998. Today the center is staffed by 10 personnel and is served by a 24 member advisory committee made up of farmers, agricultural industry representatives, and extension agents representing the nine surrounding counties.
South central Montana possesses diverse agriculture. The 2011 census showed nearly 400,000 acres of crop production with another 468,000 acres in alfalfa and other grass hay in the south central district. The significant crops for the region are listed below. Winter wheat is mostly produced under rainfed (dryland) conditions but irrigated crops along the Yellowstone River contribute significantly to the economics of the region. Crop production in this region annually brings in more than $130 million in gross receipts.