Branch Experiment Station was started in 1906 on 40 acres on the northeast
corner of 8th Street and Ave. B. Professor Robert H. Forbes, Dean of College
of Agriculture and Director of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Stations,
was the one of the people instrumental in the beginning. Apparently he made
some trips to Yuma and was the one who helped in acquiring date shoots from
Morocco and Egypt to be planted at the Yuma farm. Some of the older date
trees still exist at the above location around the Hansberger Buildings.
Edwin L. Hansberger, Sr. was a farmer all his life, but reportedly worked
for the University at times and was involved in the planting of the date
trees. Eventually as many as 10 acres of dates were planted. Around the
same time, some dates were planted in Indio, CA.
was the first Superintendent. Crane was a farmer and owned considerable
acreage around Ave. C and 8th Street. He donated land for the Crane School
District. Crane School was named in his honor. Ed Crane conducted experiments
with Bermuda onions around 1907 and developed the onion walker (planting
implement) in 1908
Wood followed Ed Crane as Superintendent probably in 1912-1916. On July
1, 1916, Dave C. Aepli became Superintendent. He owned the property
at 4th Ave. and 16th St., and probably had additional property in Yuma.
work was limited, but seemed to flourish under Aepli (1916-1925). Dates
were the principal crop and were sold on the local market. In addition,
there was an acre of asparagus which was also sold in the local market,
and the Plant Breeding Department conducted a wheat test to establish better
flour for bread. There was a block of deciduous fruit trees planted
to establish and observe suitable varieties which might be adaptable to
this area. There was also plantings of alfalfa, barley, and onions. Apparently
of the 40 acres, only 17 were ever used for research work. About 1925, Dave
Aepli moved to Mesa, AZ and became Superintendent of the Mesa Agricultural
Experiment Farm for The University of Arizona.
Aepli as Superintendent were Leslie Beatty (1925-1928) and Guy Hamilton
(1929-1934). While Hamilton was living in the original house on the property
it burned down. In 1934, it was Guy Hamilton who was involved in the trade
of the 40 acres at 8th St. and Ave. B for 90 acres to E.L. Hansberger, Sr.,
located below the Yuma Mesa on Ave. B. and County 14 ½ St. It was Hansberger
who donated 5 acres for a school, which eventually became know as the Pecan
Grove School in the Hansberger subdivision.
George H. Seamans, a farmer, became Superintendent of the Yuma Valley
his tenure Mr. C.H. Van Horn became a member of the Experiment Station staff
in 1935. He had a M. S. Degree from the University of Maryland and
was on the Horticulture Department staff at The University of Arizona.
Thus became the first resident research person for the University at Yuma.
Shoots from the dates at 8th Street and Ave. B. were used to establish the
5-acre grove at the new 90 acres farm. Besides dates, Van Horn Planted pecans.
Ultimately, he was in charge of the lettuce seed production program at the
Yuma Mesa Citrus Farm.