Mission of Agricultural Operations: To operate University of California, Riverside’s experiment stations in the support of field research and greenhouses and other growing facilities for the faculty and staff of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Agricultural Experiment Station. Within that mission, the Department provides and maintains research and growing facilities, and acts as custodian of the land.
The University of California founded the Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station (CRC-AES) becoming the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside, CA in 1907. The CRC-AES is world renowned for research on citrus including the development of citrus varieties and rootstocks, as well as disease and insect management, postharvest handling methods, and cultural practices for improved citrus production. The Citrus Variety Collection is the world's largest collection of citrus and citrus relatives and is part of CRC-AES. Over the years, the CRC-AES has expanded its scope and encompasses research from applied to basic sciences on a full range of perennial tree and vine crops, annual field and vegetable crops, turf, ornamental and landscape plants.
The CRC-AES is managed by the Department of Agricultural Operations and is known as "Ag Ops". Agricultural Operations is a support Department of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). Agricultural Operations serves as a point of integration for applied and basic research under field, greenhouse, and screenhouse conditions and offers the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines. Essentially, it is the field laboratory of CNAS. We host research projects addressing issues in agriculture, biotechnology, horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, nematology, food systems, natural resources, environmental sciences and social sciences. Considerable resources are devoted to water use and conservation. We have federally funded IR-4 research on agricultural pesticides as well as house the USDA Germplasm Repository for Citrus and Dates. There are active programs involving community participants, research faculty from other UC campuses, county-based UC Cooperative Extension Advisors, as well as collaborations with other institutions outside of California. On average, there are over 100 faculty served by Agricultural Operations.
Agricultural Operations is the "showcase" into the CNAS and campus research in agriculture and environmental sciences, with numerous national and international visitors, tours and field days conducted, thus having a strong outreach value for stakeholders in applied research, but also to the broader local community and for area schools and colleges (K-12 etc.). R' Garden, community garden and the future outreach center and outdoor classroom, invites students, faculty, youth and community partners to engage in sciences, welcoming them into a dynamic learning environment and campus.
Agricultural Operations manages and operates greenhouses, screenhouses, and two field stations. The 480 acres CRC-AES is located adjacent to campus and the 540 acres Coachella Valley Agricultural Research Station (CVARS) is located 90 miles southeast of campus. The two stations represent different agro-ecologies representative of the area: CRC-AES in traditional citrus/subtropicals production and CVARS representative of desert agricultural production systems. Agricultural Operations is responsible for establishing and maintaining allocated research plot areas according to research project protocols and also the land not in use for UCR academic departments and researchers using standard agricultural practices. The research conducted at the stations serves as the basis for new, improved plant varieties for agricultural and urban landscapes, as well as new, more sustainable agricultural practices to enhance crop productivity. Over 50 different crops are grown annually for research; among the commodities under study are citrus, turfgrass, grapes, avocados, asparagus, date palms, vegetables, corn, alfalfa, cowpeas, small grains, ornamentals, and cover crops. Additionally, specialty crops, native plants, and weeds are often grown to meet the needs of specific projects. The facilities are poised for future growth through the integration of research and extension in agricultural, environmental sciences, social science and medical sciences.
Agricultural Operations also is vital in extension activities for the campus and the Riverside community. The farm is vital to collaborations in outreach through Cooperative Extension emphasizing the Riverside community, southern California and drawing clientele from throughout the state. We are a large part of the continuum from basic and applied research, extending information throughout the world.