The Sand Plain Research Farm (SPRF) at Becker, Minnesota, opened in 1976, is affiliated with the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. The primary mission of the SPRF is to conduct cultural research on agronomic and horticultural crops under irrigated conditions, although some experiments are conducted under non-irrigated conditions.
The station is comprised of 285 acres directly north of Xcel Energy's Sherco coal burning power plant. Xcel Energy leases the land to the University for the purpose of conducting agricultural and environmental research. The research station provides labor, land and technical support for a large number of cooperating projects.
The station has five irrigation wells with a total pumping capacity of 1,300 gallons per minute. These wells are all manifolded together and pump the irrigation water through a main line that consists of roughly 11, 100 feet of six and eight inch diameter aluminum irrigation pipe. From this, smaller lateral pipe are laid out into the corresponding fields as to where irrigation is needed. With the use of a linear move irrigation system and this vast network of pipe, irrigation is possible on about forty-five acres throughout the station.