Home About YAC Introduction Early History Land Acquisition Early Facilities
  Early Research Staff History Early Land Use Building & Improvements YAC Departments
Early History
The Yuma 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.
Ed Crane 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
C.J. 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.
The research 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.
Following 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 St. It was Hansberger who donated 5 acres for a school, which eventually became know as the Pecan Grove School in the Hansberger subdivision.
In 1934, George  H. Seamans, a farmer, became Superintendent of the Yuma Valley Farm.
During 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.
Ag College home    UA search    UA Phonebook    Yuma Valley AZMET Data   Yuma Mesa AZMET Data