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About the facility 

The center lies on the northern most part of the Southern Coastal Plains south of the Ouachita Mountain region. The 273-acre research station includes 100 acres for cropping with 40 acres used for annual crops and 60 acres used for forage production. Cropping ground can be irrigated from the 15-acre pond. Eight acres of the land is the only state or federally owned property in Oklahoma that is certified organic according to the USDA National Organic Program.
Structures make up 10 acres of the property with a fully functioning shop with offices, an old shop building with office and kitchen areas used for storage and meetings and several other storage buildings. The remaining acres are used for livestock production with 30 head of cattle. 

Research Center Information


In 1984, 273 acres were purchased 10 miles east of Atoka for the purpose of building a research and Extension center, jointly funded and operated by both Oklahoma State University and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. The Lane Agricultural Center consisted of the Wes Watkins Agricultural Research and Extension Center operated by OSU and the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory operated by the USDA. 


The purpose of the joint venture was to advance the study and promotion of alternative cropping systems in southeastern Oklahoma and adjoining regions and states. Researchers investigated horticultural crops as possible replacements for lower-profit agronomic crops. For over two decades, most research efforts focused on vegetable crops.


In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture transfered Wes Watkins Research Laboratory to OSU with the agreement the university focus their research on agricultural and natural resources research for the next 25 years. 

Research Focus

While operated in partnership with the USDA, most  research efforts were focused on vegetable crops alternative cropping systems that were sustainable with low environmental impact and organic cropping systems. For many years, the primary research emphasis was on cucurbit crops, primarily watermelon but also including cantaloupes, cucumbers and squash. Other crops included tomatoes, southern peas, sweet corn, green beans, peppers, onions, herbs and forage crops grown in rotation with vegetables.


Current research focuses on crops that can be marketed with the Farm-to-School program, crops that can be used for biological fuels and biological disease control programs, crops with nutraceutical values and cover crops that can be used for soil improvement.


With the departure of the USDA, the station has increased the diversity of focus to support a wider range of OSU Ag Research faculty and Extension specialists from the Stillwater campus.

Research Projects

  • Efficacy of insecticides against grain & forage sorghum, Grasshopper in Bermuda Grass and insects in cumin & Sesame

  • Cost comparison using traditional management system using continuous grazing winter supplemented with hay vs advanced management system designed to reduce hay supplementation.

  • Specialty crops IPM for Extension

  • OSU Row Crop Weed Science crop evaluations

  • Demonstrate the value of diversity of forage options

  • Demonstrate IPM techniques for vegetable production

  • Management of certified organic land for general farm use

  • Perennial Forage Breeding

  • Small Grains Seed Increases with Oklahoma Foundation Seedstocks

  • Cucumber Cultivar demonstration

  • Edible leafy greens and IPM demonstration

  • Development of cropping programs for sustained forage for honeybees

  • Choctaw Squash Plant spacing trial 2021

  • Honeybee care and food crop production

  • Evaluation of IPM methods for pest and pollinator management in squash

  • To evaluate how soil sampling depth affect common soil fertility properties

  • SCA insecticide trials

  • IPM Project - Evaluation of organic compounds to control cutworms on corn

  • Seed treatment OSU/Corteva, beneficial insects sampling

  • Sugercane Aphid and natural Enemy Validation

  • IPM and Aphid Management in Sorghum

  • Sampling methods and impact of aphid natural enemies in grain sorghum

  • Crabgrass Forage Management

  • Industrial Hemp biomass production characteristics

Meet the Wes Watkins Agricultural Research & Extension Team

James Vaughan

Station Superintendent

Shannon Reece

Mechanic I

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