Monday, October 22, 2012
100 years and counting, EKU’s Stateland Dairy still providing herd with ‘loving care’
It began in 1912 in what is now Stateland Subdivision in Richmond, moved to the site now occupied by Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum, then across the Eastern By-Pass and finally to Meadowbrook Farm near Waco.
It’s EKU’s Stateland Dairy, and the award-winning dairy is celebrating its 100th birthday.
“It’s a state-of-the-art dairy with excellent genetics, and a great place for students to learn about dairy herd management,” said Dr. Laurie Rincker, associate professor of agriculture.
The dairy’s stall barn is loaded with features to maximize comfort for Stateland’s award-winning herd. Beginning this fall, those features have included “water” beds for the cattle.
The “loving care” apparently has paid off in production through the years. In 1992, Stateland Dairy became the first Kentucky dairy to produce a rolling herd average of 23,000 pounds of milk.
More recently, the Stateland Dairy earned the 2012 Kentucky Dairy Development Council/Kentucky Farm Bureau Proficient Dairy Producer Award. It has received numerous milk quality awards, recognition as one of the top producing herds in the state, and has ranked among the top five university herds nationally for classification scores.
Also, the dairy recently received a generous donation of 90 embryos from the Brown Swiss Association, leading to research, public relations and other opportunities. Stateland Dairy has been commended for genetic excellence by having many of its females on the Holstein Association locator list and in securing AI contracts on numerous matings for the bulls that “will be the future of our industry.”
In 1912, the Eastern Board of Regents purchased 116 acres for $18,000 to build the first dairy. After its sale in 1922, a 141-acre parcel of land where Alumni Coliseum sits today was purchased. The new Stateland farm was taken over by A.B. Carter in 1923, and he quickly began to establish a first-class dairy. A milk processing plant was also constructed to supply milk for the college cafeteria.
In 1930, the herd was enrolled in the Herd Improvement Registry Program sponsored by the Holstein-Friesian Association of America. Eastern, a member of the Dairy Herd Improvement Registry, holds the oldest continuous membership in a testing association in Kentucky.
Carter (for whom the agriculture department’s academic building is now named) also purchased the first registered foundation stock for the dairy. The majority of the cattle in Stateland’s stock today are descendants of that first stock purchased by Carter.
In 1960, the dairy was moved to what is now the south side of the Eastern By-Pass and remained there until a move in 1996 to Meadowbrook, which is also home to the university’s beef, swine, sheep and crops operations.
Today, the Stateland herd consists of 48 adult cattle, with a rolling herd average of 21,484 pounds of milk per cow per year. Dairy Manager Chad Powers oversees two full-time employees and 10 part-time student employees.
Many of the student workers employed over the years at the dairy have gone on to successful careers in diverse fields. They include EKU graduate Carl Hurley, who returned to his alma mater to teach before pursuing a full-time career as a comedian. “America’s Funniest Professor” talks often of working his way through school milking cows at the dairy farm. Other former Stateland student workers have gone on to careers in state government and as veterinarians, among other occupations.
(Text, photos from EKU)