University of Missouri-Columbia
MU Bradford Research and Extension Center
Agricultural Experiment Station
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Driving directions
New Franklin, Howard County


Hickman House

Tours and Events

6th Annual Agroforestry Symposium

The 9th Missouri Chesnut Roast

Field Day
* Oct. 4, 2014


Contact us
Dr. Shibu Jose

Research/Lab Technician, Senior:
Nancy Bishop

Nancy Bishop
10 Research Center Rd.
New Franklin, MO 65274
Phone: 660-848-2268
Fax: 660-848-2144



Aerial view of HARC
Aerial view of the 660-acre Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin, Mo.

The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC), located at New Franklin, Mo., is the primary research site for UMCA. This 665 acre farm includes several experimental fruit and nut orchards; forest farming, riparian buffer, silvopasture, alleycropping, and windbreak demonstrations as well as forage shade trials; flood tolerence trials; biofuel trials; pinestraw production trials; greenhouses; five lakes and ponds and one of Missouri's oldest brick homes, the Thomas Hickman House. The farm, set in the beautiful, rolling Missouri River hills, is also the U.S. National Arboretum Midwest Plant Research and Education Site. Tours and educational events are hosted regularly.

HARC is one of the University of Missouri's 14 outlying research farms, a network of sites across the state hosting state-of-the-art programs that bring Missouri agricultural land and forest owners new information for reaching maximum income potential and environmental benefits on a variety of land types and ecoregions.

Annual Chestnut Roast

Interdisciplinary cooperation at HARC allows researchers from several departments including entomology, plant pathology, horticulture, agronomy, animal science and agroforestry to combine knowledge and research efforts to address a more diverse array of topics. The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry supports the agroforestry research and demonstration program at HARC to further its mission to initiate and coordinate agroforestry activities within the state of Missouri and enhance the development of agroforestry within North America and the temperate zone, world wide.

The farm hosts educational events and tours regularly, including the annual Missouri Chestnut Roast. The family-oriented event draws a crowd of more than 4,000 guests each fall to showcase the benefits of agroforestry, including the production of value added products.

Through an interdisciplinary approach, UMCA leads the nation in key research areas conducted at the HARC farm:

  • Extensive bioremediation, non-point source pollution and shade and flood tolerance studies.
  • An innovative, outdoor 24-channel flood tolerance research laboratory
  • Projects for producing gourmet, high-value mushrooms, including morel and shiitake
  • The U.S. National Arboretum Midwest Plant Research and Education Test Site
  • Premier research studies on the development of eastern black walnut, northern pecan and Chinese chestnut into profitable orchard crops


The Horticulture Research Center opened in 1953 with a focus on horticultural research. In 1993, the agroforestry research program was introduced to the 540-acre farm. The Horticulture Research Center became the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in 1995. A recent land purchase of 125 acres to the west of the existing property expands the total acreage to nearly 665 acres.

Long before the first experimental tree plantings, the land which is now the HARC farm played a key historical role for Missouri and the Midwest. Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1804, finding a trading post had already been established in present-day Howard County. Just two miles south of the farm is the site of the original town of Franklin, Mo., which was established in 1816 and grew to a population second only to St. Louis by 1820. As the starting point for William Becknell's party and the legendary Santa Fe Trail, Franklin became a major point of commerce and trade for the Westward Expansion movement.

One of the Midwest's most outstanding examples of early architecture remains today on the farm, the historic 1819 Thomas Hickman House. The 1800-square foot home is an outstanding example of the Georgian Cottage - an architectural design once popular across the Midwest as settlers migrated from the southern regions - and is one of the oldest brick homes in the state. Recognizing the homestead's unique architectural, cultural and agricultural significance, the University began a restoration project in 1996 with the excavation of the home's summer kitchen site. The goal of this project is to restore the house to its historic condition and to develop it as a visitor center for the HARC farm, holding permanent educational displays of local archeological, geological and historical interest. Learn more about this project.

Land and Soils - The Missouri River Hills region

Visitors to the research farm often comment on the beautiful, rolling hills and exceptional views. The farm is positioned amidst the Missouri River Hills at one of the highest elevations in Howard County, creating a diversity of establishment sites for researching plant and tree combinations.

The current acreage sits on seven recognized soil associations. The most common soil type - rich, fertile, well-drained, windblown silt-loam known as loess -- covers the bulk of the property and is over 30 feet deep at its center.

Horticulture Research

Agroforestry Research

The Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
at the University of Missouri

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