Established by legislative mandate in 1919 to service research needs, the Prosser Irrigated Research & Extension Center (IAREC) grew with the region as an arm of the Washington Agriculture Experiment Station network. From its original staff of two, an animal scientist and an agronomist, IAREC has led the way in pioneering research that continues today. There are now 18 research and extension scientists and faculty associated with Washington State University at IAREC.
In many respects, IAREC functions like a large academic department, but one that includes faculty and staff trained in a variety of disciplines. Seven academic departments from WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences have faculty members or important programs located at the Center. Interdisciplinary research develops rapidly in this environment, as does interagency work among representatives of the USDA-ARS, WSDA, EPA, and the WSU Agricultural Research Center and Extension. This focus on cooperation in developing solutions, a valued characteristic of IAREC researchers, extends to work with their colleagues on college campuses, at other experimental stations, and within national and international organizations, agencies, and programs.
With the demands of a growing population, especially in the Pacific Northwest, there will be an ever increasing need for greater productivity from the land, diversity in disease resistant crops, and efficiency in the use and conservation of chemical and water resources. As such, the role of IAREC will be significant as the agricultural research arm of the developing WSU presence in the region.