Cranberry Station Ribbon cutting 2023
University News

UMass Amherst Hosts Ribbon-Cutting for $8 Million Expansion of Cranberry Station in East Wareham

Facility plays key role in supporting vital Massachusetts agricultural industry through research and collaborations with growers

EAST WAREHAM, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst, joined by state officials and industry leaders, today celebrated the official opening of its expanded and modernized UMass Cranberry Station, which plays an essential role in supporting cranberry growers and the state’s top commercially grown food crop.

The new and renovated facilities will enable scientists to broaden their capacity to assist the cranberry industry in meeting significant competitive challenges related to cranberry production. The $8 million project will enable the university to attract talented scientists and students to work on cranberry issues, strengthen initiatives that provide research-based data for current and future horticultural and pest management issues, maintain effective communication with growers and colleagues, and invigorate collaborations.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “For more than 110 years, UMass Amherst has remained committed to the commercial success of the commonwealth’s cranberry industry—by engaging with growers and industry leaders; by educating future scientists; and by developing innovative solutions such as insect monitoring, modern fertility management programs and a frost forecasting system.”

The UMass Cranberry Station is an outreach and research center, with 11 acres of working farm, charged with the mission of maintaining and enhancing the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry. Cranberries are the top commercial food crop grown in Massachusetts on nearly 14,000 acres, generating over $1.4 billion for the state’s economy and creating more than 7,000 direct and indirect jobs.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy was joined at the event by:

  • Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ashley Randle
  • Sen. Michael Rodrigues, co-chair of the Cranberry Station Oversight Board
  • Rep. William Straus, co-chair of the Cranberry Station Oversight Board
  • Steve Ward, president of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association
  • Steve Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees
  • Mary Burns, UMass trustee
  • Nathaniel Whitaker, dean of the UMass College of Natural Sciences
  • Hilary Sandler, director of the Cranberry Station
  • Robert Karam, board chair, AD Makepeace Co., the largest cranberry grower in North America

The new and renovated facilities reflect the station’s position as the hub of cranberry research and extension for the commonwealth and beyond. Features of the updated facility include:

  • A new, two-story 5,000-gross-square-foot addition to the east of the administration building, attached by a two-level connector to the existing laboratory research space.
  • Two new research program laboratory facilities, two new preparation laboratories and the infrastructure to support three fully outfitted laboratories.
  • Addition of four new faculty offices as well as the relocation of the administrative offices to the new addition, with a new main public entrance and reception area.
  • A new meeting room, overlooking the station’s cranberry bogs, equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual connectivity.
  • Increased access via ramps and full-sized elevator.
  • Improvement of the station’s infrastructure, internet service and laboratory wastewater treatment and disposal.
  • A new septic system and new water and electrical services.
  • Complete upgrade to the HVAC system in the laboratory building.

An investment of $5 million in capital spending authorized in the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill and a $750,000 grant from the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance was used to modernize and expand the research facilities at the station. UMass Amherst committed approximately $2 million in additional funds for necessary deferred maintenance projects on the station.