Research and Outreach Center’s provide a unique platform within the University of Minnesota where researchers, students, and stakeholders can cooperate on projects that mimic real-world production systems. At the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), soil scientists, animal scientists, animal behaviorists, Extension specialists, renewable energy engineers, and others can work on improving one or many production systems simultaneously. These projects address the multi-faceted challenges that farmers face daily in their production systems.
The WCROC provides an excellent location for students to address these challenges using a system-wide approach. For example, while studying forages for livestock, students conduct research and experiments alongside agronomists/crop specialists in the field. Our multidisciplinary areas of agricultural research include agronomy, dairy, horticulture, renewable energy, and swine. The Center is located in the heart of the prairie, within walking distance of the University of Minnesota Morris campus. The WCROC also serves as a Regional Extension Office, giving students valuable access to U of MN resources through Extension.
Graduate and undergraduate students are able to do hands-on research projects with the guidance of our faculty and staff, providing students with valuable problem solving opportunities and real-world application. In many instances, students work in the same setting as or alongside farmers. Experiential learning opportunities give students the experience of living and working in a rural setting.
Throughout the year, we welcome the time and talents of several undergrad and graduate students to assist us with our various research projects. While most of our internship opportunities are available during the summer months (May/June - August/September), several positions may be available into the school year.
Student Spotlight: Kirsten
During her junior year of undergraduate studies at the U of MN Morris, Kirsten Sharpe took a job working at the WCROC with the dairy program. Before that, she had never considered graduate school, nor had she discovered her passion for working with agricultural producers in ways that provide solutions for todays toughest challenges. Now, Kirsten is pursuing her Masters degree in animal science at the U of MN College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and attributes the WCROC to providing ample hands-on learning experiences and challenges that allow her to think in creative ways. Read more about Kirsten.
Student Spotlight: Brigit
As a native to Minnesota, Brigit Lozinski knew she wanted to further her education at the U of MN so that she could be part of ground-breaking and innovative swine research that would directly impact her home state. "My experience at the WCROC has helped further my education experience and versatility as a future animal scientist," reports Brigit. Read more about Brigit.