The University of Wisconsin Agricultural Research Station-Lancaster was established on January 3, 1963 when the University purchased the farms owned by Harry and Grace Leibfried and William and Leona Sager. The Sager farm was owned during and after the Civil War by the Charles Shepherd family. A building used by this family as a smoke house was taken by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin to Old World Wisconsin to be used in their development of a display concerning the black communities in Wisconsin history.
The Lancaster Station replaced the Soil and Water Research Station located in La Crosse that was established in 1935 for soil and water research by the Agricultural Research Service of The United States Department of Agriculture. Personnel and equipment from that moved to Lancaster in 1962 and 1963 but that phase of the work planned for Lancaster was discontinued in 1965. Some of the improvements made at the Station since 1963 are as follows:
1965 – Herd of Angus beef cows moved from Arlington to Lancaster
1966 – Construction of Butler building to house shop, lunchroom, and crop sample dryer.
1967 – Construction and dedication of Office-Center building. The Grant County Board of Supervisors appropriated the funds for the construction of this building from the county general fund.
1969 to 1970 – Construction of the Beef Barn (192′ x 55′) and silos.
1985 – Construction of two new hay storage sheds to replace an old out-dated hay barn, which has been removed.
1993 – Cattle mound and fence line feed bunk constructed in pasture.
From the inception of the Lancaster station a memorandum of understanding was developed and signed by the Directors of the Agricultural Experiment Stations of the four states of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to encourage development of a cooperative research program at the Lancaster Station. This has since been formalized by the USDA as North Central Regional Project Number 157.