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Celebrate 100 years of research at WSU’s Prosser station at upcoming events

Entrance to the campus of WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center.
The entrance to the campus of WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

Honoring 100 years of innovation in agriculture and economic development in south-central Washington, Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) at Prosser will celebrate its centennial at two special events: an Oct. 2 opening ceremony featuring WSU dignitaries, and a family-friendly community celebration on Oct. 5.

Opening ceremony

At an Opening Ceremony, 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, WSU President Kirk Schulz, WSU Provost Mitzi Montoya, and André-Denis Wright, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, will join IAREC members, agricultural, industry and community leaders, neighbors, alumni and former staff in celebrating the past, present and future of IAREC.

At this event, guests will learn about innovations and research at IAREC, meet the next generation of scientists and students dedicated to agriculture, and see the unveiling of a new display for the Benton County Museum. A reception co-hosted by the Washington State Wine Commission will follow.

Centennial Celebration

Faculty, staff, and students at IAREC welcome families, partners and the greater Prosser community to the Centennial Celebration, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.

This family-friendly event includes educational booths on a variety of topics, including Washington state grapes, robots, potatoes, butterflies, plants and photosynthesis, weather, desert plants, and much more.

Participants are invited to take pictures with the WSU mascot, Butch T. Cougar, take part in a grape stomp booth, and soak WSU scientists at a dunking booth.

What is IAREC?

A 1919 photo of scientists at WSU's Prosser research station.
The first known photo of WSU’s Prosser research station, 1919 (Courtesy WSU MASC).

IAREC is WSU’s home for research into the irrigated crops, agricultural practices and precision technologies that drive the agricultural economy of the Columbia Basin and fertile Yakima Valley. Important state crops, including apples, potatoes, wine grapes, hops, cherries, berries, forage crops, and more benefit from research and innovations that happen at Prosser.

“Over the last 100 years, agriculture world-wide has been greatly impacted by the research conducted here at Prosser, from plant health, improved crop varieties and cropping systems to precision agriculture,” said IAREC Director Naidu Rayapati.

“We generate new knowledge and make the best use of it for practical impacts, while training the next-generation of scientists and professionals in agriculture,” Rayapati said. “We’re also a kind of mini-globe, where people from different cultures and backgrounds across the continents work together, share experiences, and learn how to respect and harness strengths from each other for a common goal.”

Home base to 18 faculty scientists, several USDA and WSDA partner researchers, and roughly 100 staff, and 50 graduate students, Prosser also houses WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, which is ranked among the top precision agriculture programs at four‑year colleges and universities.

“Please join me in celebrating the game-changing accomplishments that have happened here, from our founding on 200 sagebrush-covered acres in 1919, to the amazing advances in research and technology that are taking place at Prosser today,” Rayapati said. “Our success could not happen without the involvement of our neighbors, partners and growers in Prosser, across the state, throughout Washington State University, and across the globe.”

IAREC is located at 24106 N. Bunn Road, Prosser, Washington. To attend the Opening Ceremony on Oct. 2, RSVP to IAREC Principal Assistant Jamie Meek at or by calling (509) 786-9231, by Sept. 25, 2019.

Visitors do not need to RSVP for the public celebration on Oct. 5.

Learn more about the Prosser Centennial.

Media contact:

  • Jamie Meek, WSU IAREC Principal Assistant, 509-786-9231, 

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