About Us

The Northwest Research and Outreach Center, located adjacent to the University of Minnesota's Crookston campus, owns about 1,500 acres of land. The center provides analytical, biological, and field laboratories to U of M faculty, staff, and students to conduct research and demonstrations that will enhance the efficient use of agriculture and natural resources in northwest Minnesota.

Agriculture and agricultural processing are the main sources of income and employment in northwest Minnesota. The agriculture of the region is diverse and is characterized by very large crop production operations on the flat, rich soils of the Red River Valley in the western half of the region, to diversified crop and livestock enterprises in the eastern half. Annual precipitation for the region ranges from 16 to 22 inches, with less than one-half of one percent of the area having irrigation potential for crop production.

Northwest Minnesota leads the state in the production of wheat, flax, sunflower, sugarbeet, potato, dry edible beans and specialty crops, such as annual canarygrass, buckwheat, mustard, canola, bluegrass and timothy seed production. Receipts from the sale of these and other agricultural crops ranks northwest Minnesota as No. 1 gross farm income from crop production in the State. The region also ranks high in the production of and number of cow-calf and ewe-lamb operations and borders the major dairy regions of Minnesota.

The NWROC's research and educational programs are focused on these agricultural commodities and enterprises to help ensure economic survival that is environmentally sound and to assist in economic development as it relates to value-added processing of current agricultural products and to the introduction and culture of new crops or livestock species for the region.

Facts and Figures


  • Owned: 1,556 acres
  • Rented:  835 acres
  • Crops Research:  295 acres
  • Feed Production: 1,940 acres
  • Natural History Area:  86 acres
  • Buildings, Roads, Windbreaks:  70 acres


  • 8 Academic Faculty, all have Ph.D.s
    (three academic faculty hold joint appointments with UMC)
  • 3 Professional academic
  • 23 Staff and support staff (Civil Service and Bargaining Unit)
  • 29 Part time staff (summer students)
  • 1 Regional Extension Educator
  • 1 IPM Specialist


Currently there are 140 active projects on 12 crops and 2 livestock enterprises involving 53 cooperationg scientists and 13 off-station research sites. Cooperating institutions include:  the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University, Montana State University, South Dakota State University, and the USDA-ARS, AURI, and a total of 10 industry partners (6 companies, 4 cooperatives).

Cooperating Partnerships:

  • University of Minnesota
  • North Dakota State University
  • Montana State University
  • DNR
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of Manitoba
  • Industry


Within the framework of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS),the Northwest Research and Outreach Center contributes to the acquisition, interpretation, and dissemination of research results to the people of Minnesota and beyond. Within this context, we emphasize research and education relevant to the needs of northwest Minnesota and which includes projects initiated by center scientists, other MAES scientists, and state or federal agencies.