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About Us

The Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center is an off campus research and teaching farm, working livestock facility and horticulture field research center under the direction of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. Located just four miles north of Fort Collins, ARDEC consists of 1,065 total acres; 65 acres are located at ARDEC-South, the Horticulture Field Research Center and the remaining 1,000 acres surround the main ARDEC site and livestock facility.

What we do:

  • Conduct integrated agricultural research, instruction and outreach programs for the departments and areas of:
    • Soil and Crop Science
    • Agricultural Biology
    • Agricultural & Resource Economics
    • Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
    • Animal Science
    • Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Enable campus-based faculty and students to engage in hands-on learning and research projects
  • Act as a base for conducting off-site activities with other research centers throughout the state of Colorado
  • Involve cooperative programs with USDA Agricultural Research Service

What we strive for:

  • ARDEC provides the opportunity to conduct investigation on agricultural problems with a coordinated and integrated approach by bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise
  • The facilities provide faculty, staff, producers, processors, Ag-business representatives, natural resource managers, government agencies, students and others the opportunity to participate in work conducted on-site
  • Teaching and educating students as well as the general public on the importance of U.S. agriculture and new technologies

Since its establishment in 1993, ARDEC has continued to improve its programs and has kept up with the changing needs and demands of today’s agricultural issues and challenges.

Facility demographics:


ARDEC main facility is approximately 1,000 acres; 889 acres are farmable irrigated acres utilized to support research and teaching programs, livestock unit and future sustainability of ARDEC. ARDEC-South, the Horticulture Field Research Center facility is approximately 65 acres; 54 acres are farmable irrigated acres including approximately 10 certified organic acres.


The headquarters facility at 4616 NE Frontage Road consists of several buildings: the main/general purpose building (which includes staff offices, conference room, covered picnic area, 34 individual workrooms, drying, processing and scale rooms), Shop/ Foundation Seed building, machine shed, pesticide storage and bulk storage. Just north of CR 56 is the livestock unit consisting of several buildings: sheep barn, swine units, cow/calf barn, a heifer and bull development center, metabolism barn with individual pens, feed intake unit, palpation chutes, feedlot pens, central mix area, a Temple Grandin designed working facility, the ARDEC Conference Center and the CoBank Center for Agricultural Education. ARDEC-South, the Horticulture Field Research Center which is three miles south of the headquarters facility consists of a house that is used as an office area, a machine shop, Research building, one greenhouse and seven hoop houses.


  • Cattle:
    • Resident ARDEC cow/calf herd – 100 head of purebred Hereford and Angus cows & replacement heifers.
    • Feed Intake Unit – 190 head capacity
    • Feedlot – 500 head capacity
  • Sheep
    • Individual pens – 72 individual pens for research
  • Swine
    • Farrowing unit – 6 individual crates with 4 group pens
    • Finishing unit – 6 individual pens


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