UNL Haskell Ag. Lab
UNL Haskell Ag. Lab - Concord NE (image collage)

In 1954, local citizens formed the Northeast Nebraska Farm Association. Rollie Ley, a Wayne banker, came up with the idea for an experiment station. Wayne native, Albert Watson, also played a prominent part in organizing the Association. The Association was incorporated in 1955, to "promote, encourage, and procure the establishment and operation of an experimental farm in northeast Nebraska; to solicit and secure funds by gifts, donations, or otherwise to be used in acquiring, owning, and providing suitable land; and to hold, give, or convey same to an institution, such as the University of Nebraska, to be used and operated as an experimental farm..."

The first major financial contribution came in 1956 when the C.D. Haskell family donated a $70,000, 320-acre farm to the Association. The Association, in turn, gave it to the University of Nebraska. In exchange for the land donation, the Association set up a scholarship fund through the NU Foundation in the name of Margaret T. Haskell. The $25,000 fund still provides interest-free or low-interest loans to northeast Nebraska students majoring in agriculture or engineering. 

A plan for the headquarters' building was funded by raising $8,850. C.D. Haskell matched that amount. Through the efforts of Richard Adkins, Sr. of Osmond, University funds were allocated to build the first NEREC building.

In 1967, the Association worked with local pork producers to raise $22,000 for a swine research facility. The Association has continued to provide small grants annually for special needs. Nearly 2,000 individuals have purchased memberships or given donations.

In the fall of 1997, the Concord site was renamed the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory. It continues to provide the latest applied research results for agriculture.

Nebraska Counties in the Experimental Farm Association include Antelope, Boyd, Burt, Cedar, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dodge, Dixon, Holt, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Stanton, Thurston, Washington, and Wayne.

Check out this article by Farm Progress about the history of the Haskell Ag Lab.