Established in 1959, the Bridger Plant Materials Center has served as an important on-farm research center for both native and crop plants important to Montana and Wyoming for nearly 60 years. Montana and Wyoming’s conservation districts co-own the Center and lease it to the Natural Resources Conservation Service for the purpose of maintaining a research facility for the development of plant materials to help solve conservation problems throughout Montana and Wyoming.
NRCS – Annual Report of Activities
In 1959, the Bridger Plant Materials Center was established on 80 acres of ground southeast of Bridger, Montana. The Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service), through Carbon County Conservation District, leased the land and facilities from the owner, Mr. Frank Thomas. In 1970, Mr. Thomas wished to sell his farm (~150 acres) and it was decided that Montana and Wyoming’s conservation districts would come together to purchase the farm. This was the beginning of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Inc. organization.
In 1971, the two-state organizations formed a Board of Managers that would be responsible for guiding the operations of the Center. A cooperative agreement between SWCDM and the Soil Conservation Service was signed in 1972, and has been regularly updated since then to continue having the farm function as a Plant Materials Center for the development of plant materials to help solve conservation problems throughout Wyoming and Montana.
Board of Managers
There is a five-member Board of Managers made up of Conservation District supervisors from both Montana and Wyoming that manage the activities and financials of the Center. The Board of Managers meets twice a years and board members serve three-year terms. Montana and Wyoming each have two members on the Board of Managers at all times with the fifth member alternating every three years. Montana’s current members on the Board of Managers are:
- Shirley Parrott, Treasurer, Lower Mussellshell Conservation District, 406-323-1662
- Judi Knapp, Treasure County Conservation District, 406-342-5260
Please contact either of them with any questions about the Center.
For more information about the Bridger Plant Materials Center and staff contact info, visit NRCS’s website here.