Where We Started
The Marshfield Agricultural Research Station was established in 1912 on 80 acres of land granted to the University of Wisconsin by Wood County and the City of Marshfield. In addition to the gift, the University of Wisconsin purchased 100 acres from Mr. and Mrs. Harley Jacklin and Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Musbach on July 12, 1919. In 1954 the University purchased 2.55 acres from the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company. The University also purchased 60 acres from Donald Nikolai, et al. in 1979. Another acquisition of property came on November 20, 1981 through a transfer of land. The University traded 60 acres of the Fiedler property for a 20 acre parcel adjacent to the station from Kenneth Shong, et al.
In addition to the land the University of Wisconsin owns, the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station exchanged 10.8 acres for the right to lease 78.4 acres from the Wood County Asylum for $1.00 as long as research is conducted at the station. This agreement started on March 18, 1966. The station also leases 36.2 acres north of the station from the Meyer Brothers.
In 1998 an agreement was made with the City of Marshfield and Wood County where the city exchanged 187 acres of UW-Madison land for 622 acres of farmland in the towns of McMillan and Eau Pleine. As part of this agreement, Wood County exchanged 78 acres of their Wood County land for 145 acres of land in Marathon County. This land is the site of a new heifer research facility.
The Station Today
MARS is nestled between the cities of Marshfield and Stratford on Drake Avenue, one mile west of State Highway 97. The MARS animal research facility is home to about 500 dairy heifers housed in pens of 8 animals for optimal research capability. The dairy cow barn contains a unique configuration which permits the application of 4×4 Latin square designed experiments of up to 128 dairy cows. On the agronomy side, there are many crop research trials taking place in various fields around the station. Much of the station acreage has been converted to no-till and cover crop practices. Extensive Managed Grazing is an ongoing study from May through November every year with a variety of heifer age groups out on pasture. Research information is collected on the environmental impact as well as nutritional and wellbeing of heifers on pasture.
MARS is a proud founding member of the Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation (EPPIC) group.