William Owens | 8/30/2005 11:13:20 PM
The Hill Farm Research Station is located in Claiborne Parish in north Louisiana about 4 miles south of Homer. The facility is one of 20 research stations operated by the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center through its research division, the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station. For directions to the Hill Farm, click on directions.
The establishment of the Hill Farm was authorized by Act No. 127 of the 1946 Louisiana Legislature, and it was designated the North Louisiana Hill Farm Experiment Station. However, the original purchase of land was not made until August of 1947 when 983 acres were acquired. The land area expanded several times in the early years. In 1948, the Claiborne Parish Police Jury donated 140 acres. Additional land purchases, made in the mid 1950s (119 acres), the late 1960s (91 acres) and the early 1970s (155 acres), brought the station to its present total of 1,488 acres. A group of pictures and documents related to the history of the Hill Farm can be found by clicking on the history link.
According to the 1946 legislative act, the Hill Farm was established "for the purpose of conducting experiments to determine and develop the most economically suitable agricultural, livestock and tree crop practices for the North Louisiana Hill Farm Section."
Initial research was undertaken on row crops (chiefly cotton and corn), horticultural crops, forestry, dairy and poultry. There was also a mobile soil testing laboratory. As the agriculture of the area changed, so did the research programs of the station. Row-crop farming essentially disappeared with considerable conversion of acreage to pasture for beef cattle and hay production. Dairy production and forestry remained strong. Therefore, increased emphasis was placed on the agronomy, beef, dairy and forestry research programs..
The Hill Farm's first resident director (then called superintendent), Dawson M. Johns (1947 to 1980), was the driving force behind the station's planning, construction, equipping and staffing. Mastitis research began at the station in 1960 under the guidance of the station's second resident director, W. Nelson Philpot (1980 to 1995). A Mastitis Research Laboratory was subsequently built in 1968 and expanded in 1985. David G. Morrison was the third resident director and served from 1995 to 1997. William Owens is the current resident director.
Situated on the interior coastal plain of north Louisiana, the Hill Farm is generally considered to serve the parishes of Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Webster and Winn as well as portions of several other parishes. All research programs receive wide recognition, not only within the state but also nationally and internationally. Beef, forages, forestry, mastitis, poultry, and water quality research programs are all important to the economic development of Louisiana. In the future, an increased research emphasis on forestry and water quality will be especially beneficial to the stakeholders in the area served by the Hill Farm Research Station.