U of M's Southern Research and Outreach Center Celebrates 100 Ye - KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports -

U of M's Southern Research and Outreach Center Celebrates 100 Years

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WASECA, Minn. -

The festival atmosphere, whether it be the horse trolley rides, 4-H exhibits, or wine tasting of the latest University of Minnesota designed vintage, all goes with the celebration of a campus' 100th birthday.

But underneath the pomp and circumstance lies a rich history of agricultural innovation.
Associate Professor Greg Johnson says, "Communication, roads, all that, were not well established yet, and so that's how people learned - word of mouth and going some where and hearing about it there, and that was the function of this place."

The outreach center soon shifted into more of a research mode from there, putting in decades of work trying to improve the techniques and seeds that would feed the country.
Director Forrest Izuno says, "We lose track of where that food comes from, how much it takes to bring it to the store and all the technology that is used to enable us to provide more food, better food, from the same land that we've always had."

Forrest is a second-generation fixture at the center. He was actually born during his father Takumi Izuno's first year of grad school in Waseca, who would go on to work with famed scientist Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work saving an estimated one billion people from starvation.
Takumi says, "It really expanded wheat production throughout the less productive areas of North Africa, Turkey, Bangladesh, which was strictly a rice-eating country. They were able to grow wheat during the winter with the help of Borlaug and company."

Johnson says, "Some of the early seminal work by H.K. Hayes and others was done here on inbred crossing, selfing and then hybridization ultimately. MN-Hybrid came out of this station, was distributed by this station. I feel as though we were some of the first places that really took advantage of hybridization in corn."

Here's to a hundred more years.