Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center: Idaho’s Gem Classroom
The Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center, located in the heart of Idaho’s livestock country in Lemhi County near Salmon, Idaho, is a place of discovery for western livestock producers and natural resource managers.
Operated by the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the center has undoubtedly provided numerous opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the community.
The center is a setting for environmental education for public school students; a site for research by scientists, undergraduate and graduate students; and an opportunity for clinical experiences by veterinary students. Cattle producers and other members of the public visit the center for educational programs on many topics.
The Auen Foundation of Palm Desert, Calif., generously donated the 1,100-acre center in 2005 to the university to honor the late Nancy Cummings’ love for the Salmon River Valley, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her desire to expand educational horizons for the valley’s residents. Named after the mother of The Auen Foundation’s Program Director, Sherrie Auen, the center dutifully carries on the lifelong wish of Nancy Cummings - providing educational opportunities to others, including residents of the Salmon River Valley.
The center operates as Idaho’s primary cow-calf and forage research station, providing land and facilities for beef cattle research at the scale of a working ranch. The center also provides continuing education for people associated with the livestock industry and learning opportunities for University of Idaho students. Center researchers conduct animal and environmental studies to benefit the livestock industry of the Intermountain West and beyond.
Research and Extension efforts at the center have included pioneering studies on animal identification systems, genetic improvement, reproductive efficiency, forage production and grazing practices.
A hands-on facility for ag education, undergraduate and graduate students are active in the calving, neonatal calf health, pre-breeding heifer exams, bull breeding soundness exams and pregnancy diagnosis, winter feeding strategies, vaccination programs and weaned calf healthcare at the center.
The Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center has made a significant impact on the study of animal and veterinary science – with research conducted here benefiting the current and future industry’s best practices in ag science for the nation’s cattle producers.
“This generous gift has allowed us to further our teaching, research and outreach efforts for the beef industry — a vital part of Idaho’s economy and a program of distinction in our college,” said College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Michael Parrella.