COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has celebrated the 130th anniversary of an agricultural research field.

The Sanborn Field has helped create some of farming's best practices, the Columbia Missourian reported . The 3-acre field was originally founded in 1888 to study crop rotation and how fertilizers affect crop production.

Researchers implement 21st century practices on 19th century fields, said Tim Reinbott, the assistant director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, which runs Sanborn. The field has a long history of nationally recognized research, he said.

The field played a role in the discovery of Streptomyces aureofaciens, an actinobacteria that can be developed into an antibiotic similar to penicillin and was used to treat typhus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A soil sample from the field taken in 1945 sits in the Smithsonian Institution.

Parts of the field are frozen in time for agriculture research, including nine plots from the field's original study. Some areas have never been treated with herbicide, while other areas have only had crops harvested by hand or with small tractors.

"This is really the basis of how our food is grown," Reinbott said.

Research at the field reduces the cost of food for average consumers, he said.

"The concept of healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people is as important as ever," Reinbott said.


Information from: Columbia Missourian,