Garrison Diversion partners with the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service by providing funding to support their initiatives. The NDSU Extension Service receives funding from Garrison Diversion to support the NDSU Oakes Irrigation Research Site, the NDSU Extension Service Irrigation Specialist position and the NDSU Extension Research and Outreach Program.
Oakes Irrigation Research Site (OIRS)
The Oakes Irrigation Research Site was established in 1970 on approximately 20-acre tract of land 4.5 miles south of Oakes, North Dakota. The NDSU Extension Oakes Irrigation Research Site tests varieties of plants under different growing scenarios. Studies of test plots of crops such as cabbages, peppers, tomatoes and common crops grown in North Dakota, provide producers with information for more efficient crop production and best management practices.
The research site helps provide information which contributes to the successful planning and operation of irrigated agriculture throughout North Dakota. Using creative growing techniques and carefully controlled irrigation, these highly profitable crops can be grown in North Dakota without government subsidies. With continued study and cooperation with farmers and developers, North Dakota will be able to supply markets all over the world with both raw produce and processed food.
Since the origination of the research site, 20 acres of land has been leased from the Robert (Bob) Titus family in Oakes for the irrigated trials.
In 2013, Garrison Diversion and the NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station began working on plans to update the facilities for the OIRS. Due to the outdated nature of the site, the OIRS was in serious need of major upgrades and improvements in order to continue irrigation research at the high level anticipated from the site. The desire to expand the site to 40 acres was also expressed.
In 2014, the process was started to lease an additional 20 acres of land from Robert (Bob) Titus to expand the OIRS to 40 acres. In 2015, in order to secure land ownership for the future, Garrison Diversion purchased five acres of land from Bob Titus.
In order to ensure irrigation research would continue for many years into the future, Bob and Elsie Titus deeded the land leased for the OIRS to the NDSU Development Foundation in their life estate. The Robert Titus Research Farm was dedicated on August 20, 2015, in recognition of Bob Titus and the gift he has given to the agriculture community and the State of North Dakota.
The OIRS is now known as the Oakes Irrigation Research Site - Robert Titus Research Farm. The name of the site has changed, but the invaluable data procured from the research site will continue to benefit farmers and irrigators for years to come
Irrigation Research and Outreach Program
NDSU Extension’s Irrigation Research and Outreach Program distributes research data and results to farmers and other interested parties. Distributing the study results of successful growing techniques of traditional and non-traditional crops grown in North Dakota means more profitable and stable farms and a better agricultural economy for the state.
North Dakota Irrigation Specialist
The Irrigation Specialist, an experienced NDSU extension agent, carries out the responsibilities of the Irrigation Assistance Program, an agreement between the Bureau of Reclamation, Garrison Diversion, and NDSU. The goal of the program is to provide educational and technical assistance to individual producers and other groups regarding the effective utilization of soil and water resources in irrigation. Another effort is to enhance education efforts in North Dakota focused on irrigation and related business development.
Responsibilities of the Irrigation Specialist include working with irrigation organizations to assist in the development and expansion of irrigation in North Dakota. The Irrigation Specialist promotes the production, processing, and marketing of high value crops, as well as develops education materials, workshops, and tours related to irrigation. The Specialist works closely with researchers to identify irrigation research needs in North Dakota.