The Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center (SIPAC) is a 1331 acre working farm and research and education facility designed to address practical farm and natural resource management problems providing practical solutions and education and training opportunities for farmers, landowners, foresters, and other natural resource professionals.
The impetus for a Purdue agricultural research farm in Dubois County arose from a local grassroots effort lead by local county extension agents, forestry/wood manufacturing industry and farmers. The initial acquisition in January 1953 was called the Southern Indiana Forage Farm. Additional forest acres were purchased in 1966 and dedicated in 1967 as the Patoka Forestry Project (PFP). Around this time the Southern Indiana Forage Farm was renamed the Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center (SIPAC). Since the first acquisition in 1953, FNR faculty and staff took an active role in the management of the forest at SIPAC and in developing its research and extension education opportunities. SIPAC has also been the headquarters for a Purdue Regional Extension Forester since the mid-1960s. Today it is a recognized center of forestry and natural resources extension education and applied research in southern Indiana, providing numerous educational opportunities for landowners and professionals in the form of workshops, short courses, field tours and demonstrations. It also provides hands-on training each summer for Purdue forestry student interns.
SIPAC is located in the unglaciated Crawford Upland physiographic unit and the Crawford Upland Section of the Shawnee Hills Natural Region. Its topography is characterized by broad to narrow flat ridgetops, deeply dissected drainages with steep side slopes, moderately steep hillsides, and minor creek bottoms. It borders Patoka Lake (13.8 sq.mi.), providing significant contiguous forest and wildlands under Indiana Department of Natural Resources management. The forests at SIPAC are a varied collection of stands reflecting past management, both prior to Purdue ownership and 60 years of subsequent Purdue management. Stand types include:
- 298 acres (45%) oak-hickory forest
- 194 acres (29%) mixed hardwoods
- 62 acres (9%) tulip poplar-ash-cherry forest
- 25 acres (4%) maple-beech forest
- 7 acres (1%) sycamore-gum-elm
- 36 acres (5%) of pine plantations
- 19 acres (3%) of hardwood plantations
- 1331 total acres
- 665 forest acres (50%)
- 20 ponds totaling 13 acres water surface area and ranging in size from 0.25 – 3 acres in size.
- 7.6 miles of seasonal access roads
- 1015 ft. gravel, all-season road
- 1.6 miles of stream, both perennial (USGS solid blue) and intermittent (USGS broken blue)
All researchers who want to conduct research on SIPAC forests must have their project approved prior to starting. Please contact the regional extension forester located at SIPAC for approval.
Recent Research Activities
Most forestry research conducted at SIPAC throughout its history and to the present has been of a practical, applied nature with results that field foresters, natural resource professionals, and landowners can use in their forest management activities. Since 2000, this research has included methods for regenerating oak forests and managing invasive vegetation, which poses one of the greatest threats to Indiana’s forest health and productivity. Research trials include herbicide and mechanical cutting methods, prescribed fire and prescribed grazing using goats in integrated vegetation management systems. In cooperation with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC) at Purdue FNR, SIPAC maintains an American chestnut hybrid progeny trial and seed orchard. This seed orchard is an important component in efforts to restore American chestnut to Indiana forests.
Extension Education Activities
SIPAC’s diverse forests and many research and demonstration projects provide many opportunities to show a wide variety of forestry practices in education programs. Its numerous access roads and trails along with its modern meeting facilities make it ideal for hosting forestry and natural resource education programs.
, Extension Forester
Purdue University, Dept. of Forestry & Natural Resources
11371 E Purdue Farm Rd
Dubois, IN 47527