If the walls of the Cressy Research and Development Station could talk, they'd have many a historical story to tell, but its next chapter might be it's most exciting one yet.
The station was founded in 1937 and has been home to many varied agricultural pursuits, including a land army training centre, and a research station.
Farmers in the Cressy area would send their pasture seed, cover crops and other crops to be evaluated into trials to educate others about varying growing conditions and chemical applications to the crops and the soil.
When WWII broke out, the area was transformed into a land army training station, for young girls to educate themselves on the running of a farm.
In other news:
Australian company Upper Murray Seeds leased the site in 2019 and has invested more than $1.5 million to refurbish the station to its former glory.
Upper Murray Seeds managing director Stuart Sutherland said the company's previous research centre was based in New South Wales, but climate changes had made some crop trials impossible.
They had also become landlocked at their previous location.
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"We'd outgrown our site at Tooma, so we were looking to move somewhere. Originally, we considered moving the site to near Albury, so it was closer to a major city," he said.
However, participation in an international seed and pasture crop conference in Argentina would help to change Mr Sutherland's mind.
"We visited the Gentos research farm in Argentina and it was just like Cressy, an old research farm that had been reinvigorated, and it was perfect," he said.
At that conference, Mr Sutherland was browsing Australian media, when he saw an advertisement for the Cressy Research and Development Station.
A week later, on his return from Argentina, Mr Sutherland and his colleagues flew to Tasmania to view the station, and his mind was made up.
He said initially, Upper Murray Seeds was looking to relocate to New Zealand, which has a more temperate and favourable climate, but Tasmania presented a similar environment.
"We really thought we had an opportunity to create a mini-New Zealand seed production industry here in Tasmania," Mr Sutherland said.
Upper Murray Seeds has been in the Sutherland family since 1993, and now three generations of the family are involved in the business.
It produces and markets Australian bred and grown seed and is a significant exporter and importer of seed.
Cressy research and development manager Tim Smallbon said it was nice to capture the place's history and ensure it had a working and profitable future.
At the moment, trials are focused on cover crops and grasses, including brassica, lucerne, clover, fescue and coxfoot.
Trials started at the site in May last year and will continue to run for the rest of the year. Upper Murray Seeds will upload the results to its website.
"One of the reasons we chose Cressy was because it's really becoming a powerhouse destination for grasses and seed production," he said.
However, he said as a Tasmanian, whose mother grew up close to the property, one of the enjoyable things was seeing the history be refurbished and preserved.
Some of the farm machinery found on the site has been preserved, including old slashers and tractors along with a desktop seed cleaner built in the early 1900s.
They also found some historical photos that will be on display as part of an open day held next month.
Mr Smallbon said Upper Murray Seeds wanted to invite the community to come and have a look at the work and to reminisce about the site's history.
He said COVID regulations would be in place, but they were lucky the site had a lot of open space so they can enforce physical distancing.
Upper Murray Seeds has also partnered with Burlington Berries in Tasmania and has refurbished some of the houses on the Cressy site for short-term seasonal worker accommodation.
- The Cressy Research and Development open day will be held on December 10. The doors will be open at 9.30am with an official opening by Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett at 10.30am.