National and State Register

Engelbrecht Farm

Adams County

The Engelbrecht Farm is directly associated with the invention of the center-pivot irrigation system.

Engelbrecht Farm - 5AM.3086, irrigation parts

Engelbrecht Farm - 5AM.3086, irrigation parts.

 It is at this farm in 1948 that Frank Zybach, the system’s inventor, built the prototype with farm owner Ernest Engelbrecht from various farm machine parts. The prototype was then tested and put into use by Engelbrecht in one of his fields, running until 1967. The original center-pivot irrigation towers remain on the farm, as does the machine shop where the prototype was constructed, the pump house, and remnants of the reservoir that supplied the water to the system. Although it took several years for the center-pivot system to gain momentum, it is now one of the main types of irrigation in the United States, predominantly on the Great Plains, where in some states it can account for more than 75 percent of irrigated farmland.