On May 11, 1886, Bill 124, “An Act respecting Experimental Farm Stations,” was passed under Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. The purpose of these farm stations was to increase Canadian prosperity through agriculture. The location of the British Columbia Dominion Experimental Farm, one of the first five in Canada, was chosen in 1887. Title was obtained in 1889 for 300 acres of rich and fertile soil in Agassiz, and included part of the original Agassiz Family Estate.
Between 1889 and 1911 farming efforts focused on clearing the land and planting varieties of fruits, ornamental trees, shrubs, vegetable, and cereal crops. An emphasis on livestock operations, specifically on animal health and nutrition, occurred from 1911 to 1930. After 1930, horticultural research again became active. Greenhouses and vegetable storage research programs were established in the 1970s.
Since its opening in 1889, the Agassiz Dominion Experimental Farm has been renamed a number of times:
- Dominion Experimental Farm (1889-1959)
- Agassiz Research Station (1959-1994)
- Pacific Agriculture Research Centre (1994-1996)
- Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (1996-2016)
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Agassiz Research and Development Centre (2016-present).
Despite the name and research changes, the “Farm” has been a permanent fixture in the Agassiz-Harrison Valley. The relationship between Agassiz and the federally funded farm has always been mutually beneficial. Agassiz has provided land, people and services to conduct the scientific research; the Farm has provided steady employment for the community, new residents to the community, food, and recognition for Agassiz in the agricultural circles.