The establishment of the Tamworth Agricultural Institute (TAI) was initiated in October 1948 by an announcement, by the then Minister for Agriculture Mr EH Graham, MLA. He announced the establishment of an experimental farm in the north-west at Nemingha. At the time Mr Graham was quoted as saying:
The NSW Department of Agriculture has a staff of fully trained and highly qualified scientific personnel and it is my desire to expand the research facilities available to these officers in order to give them greater scope for their activities, and thus permit the results of their scientific investigation and research being readily available to the whole farming community.
Completed offices and laboratories, 1967.
The land that was to become TAI was purchased from the Cox Estate for £32,000, with the purchase finalised in 1950.
The history of the Institute is recorded from the early thirties when the Department of Agriculture (now part of Industry & Investment NSW) started wheat breeding at Glen Innes. New varieties for these programs were tested on farms near Tamworth and in adjoining districts. The land purchase referred to above allowed for the expansion of the wheat breeding program at Tamworth. Dr EM Matheson sowed the first wheat breeding plots on this land in 1955.
In 1959 the Institute became the headquarters of the Department's wheat research programs in northern NSW. It was expanded in 1961 with $50,000 from the NSW Wheat Industry Research Committee and $100,000 in state funds to provide offices, laboratories and other resources.
Aerial view of paddocks at Tamworth Agricultural Institute
Additional land 80.83 ha was acquired from the travelling stock reserve located on the Liverpool Plains some 8 km north of the village of Breeza on the Pullaming Stock Route (now road). Since 1972 this land has been developed to provide an area for irrigated trials to complement the research carried out at Tamworth.
Following considerable development at both Tamworth Agricultural Institute and Liverpool Plains Field Station, as a combined entity, Tamworth Agricultural Institute has become Industry & Investment NSW's principal research facility for the cropping belt of northern inland NSW.