The Brownstown Agronomy Research Center (BARC) was established in 1937. After reviewing three different sites, Dr. Burlinson, head of the College of Agronomy, chose the site in Fayette county. J.B. Turner, farm advisor in Fayette County and a descendant of Jonathan Baldwin Turner, led the Farm Bureau Board of Directors in sponsoring the purchase of 120 acres of land for $1,800. The deed to this land was presented to Dean Mumford in June of 1937. Later that year, a 24' X 60' barn was built and the Brownstown Center began operation.
The BARC has approximately 208 acres: 160 are owned by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and 48 are crop-shared from landowners adjacent, or in close proximity to, the facility. One hundred and seventeen acres is considered useable for agronomic purposes. The remaining land comprises 55 acres of long-term coniferous and deciduous tree research, four acres of ponds, and 32 acres of grass alleys, waterways, roads, and building sites.
The BARC was one of the first comprehensive field research centers operated by the Crop Sciences department. Soil fertility and crop variety work began in the 1930s with equipment that included horse-drawn discs, a Hayes corn planter, a walking plow, and a sulky plow. Weed science and tillage work began in the 1950's, as did cooperative relationships with entomologists, plant pathologists, and agricultural engineers.