More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the University of Minnesota’s “College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences”

Sure, MY state’s biggest university has a world renowned agriculture program, but I really think it would have been sufficient to simply call it the “Farming Department” — just as my alma mater had simple names like “Political Science Department” and “History Department.” Instead of simplicity, however, the University of Minnesota seems to have gotten its “College of Excessive & Pretentious Vocabulary and Marketing Sciences” to give the farming department a fancier name.

Be that as it may, the goal of today’s ride wasn’t the main agricultural research center on the university’s Minneapolis campus. No, I headed off to an old remnant of the university’s agricultural research, located in Rosemount, which is only 12 miles away from MY town. It’s a weirdly cool place to ride a bike.

The place I’m talking about is called UMORE Park. (University of Minnesota Outreach, Research & Education Park) Eighty years ago, the park was 12,000 acres of farmland. In 1942 the U.S. government took it away from a number of farmers and built a sprawling munitions plant for the “war effort.” When World War II ended, and the government no longer needed to produce tons of gun powder, the land was turned over to the U. of MN for agricultural research.

To be honest, I can’t figure out WHAT they do at UMORE these days — if anything. I looks abandoned and very eerie. I guess that’s exactly why I like riding around there.

Of course, I had to ride my bike a little bit to get to UMORE park. I took a few pictures along the way. Please allow me to start with those.

See that mountain off in the distance? Five years ago that land was as flat as the soybean field in the foreground. Now it has risen out of the earth like a vampire rises out of his grave. It’s not a real mountain though. It’s a landfill. A mountain of garbage. (By the way, soybeans are food. I use soy sauce for cooking all the time, but considering the acreage dedicated to soybeans they must used for a lot more than just soy sauce.)
I had to ride another half-mile to get to the other side of the mountain. No, the wetland in front of it is not alpine tarn, but it is proof that goose, duck and heron habitat can co-exist nicely with garbage.

You may have noticed the condition of the road in the above picture. Those cracks are the reason I didn’t see any other cyclists. And the new adjacent highway a quarter-mile south is the reason why I didn’t see any other cars either.

Eventually, I had to get back on the very busy (civilized?) Highway 42 in order to get to where I wanted to go. It had a big shoulder though and it wasn’t too loud on this Sunday morning.

I made it. Grasshoppers were hopping around The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong and ticks were probably crawling up my legs. (Don’t worry, I checked and they weren’t. But a grasshopper attached itself to my leg and I franticly swatted it away. See why I hate bugs?)

I diverted myself onto the traffic-less roads of UMORE Park and rode among the many old buildings. They all have that military aura of plainness and uniformity.

What the heck goes on around here? Where are the scientists? Where are the crops and the farm animals?

UMORE Park even has its own abandoned water tower. Or IS it abandoned? Maybe it’s sending signals to cows to revolt against their human oppressors.

Did you know that the Honey Crisp apple never existed before the University of Minnesota engineered it. Now the Honey Crisp is the 3rd most popular apple in the United States. It doesn’t cook very well, but thanks to its sweetness and crunchiness, it is the #1 apple for eating right out of the bag.

It’s that kind of genetic engineering that makes me wonder why this corn on the south side of the UMORE complex seems to be taller than the other corn around here.

Wheat is not a normal crop in this part of Minnesota. Yet, UMORE Park can grow it. What’s up with that?

I‘m sorry to have to say it, but WHERE’S THE BEEF? More abandoned buildings at UMORE Park.

I was a little worn out from all that picture-taking, but I still had to get home. I pedaled like a wild man, but along the way I could not resist one more picture.

A small herd of the rare orange-eared cattle of southeastern Minnesota. I was lucky to spot them hiding from the hot sun in this shaded area. Someday, quite sadly, they will be food.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

3 response to "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the University of Minnesota’s “College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences”"

  1. By: BobinVT Posted: August 2, 2021

    First off, I’d like to thank the University of Minnesota for creating my favorite kind of snacking apple. McIntosh for cooking, but definitely Honey Crisp for snacking. And that ‘abandoned’ water tower? Maybe a government antenna to communicate with the space aliens?

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 2, 2021

    Dang! I was hoping to see a Golden Gopher! šŸ™
    And I want to thank Minnesota for Spam — Im sure the U of M has a lot to do with pork production.
    Very interesting tour! Thanks!

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: August 5, 2021

    I like that you described the leachate pond as a ‘wetland’ šŸ™‚ And those old military buildings sure do look creepy.

    Glad you avoided the ticks. I once had a grasshopper whack me in the neck, fall down onto my shirt and then crawl in. If that wasn’t icky enough, it then crawled down my chest and into my bra. Yes. Not at all pleasant. I stopped and got off the bike pretty quickly and then just ripped my shirt and bra up with one hand and impolitely swished the grasshopper away with the other. No one was around, so I didn’t really flash anyone, but it would have been hilarious to see. I do not have your aversion to bugs even though they’ve caused me a lot of hell, but that was pretty icky.

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