FHSU Science Cafe Series Kicks Off With A Visit To The College Farm
By JAMES BELL
On Tuesday, the popular Science Cafe series kicked off this year’s programming with a tour of the Fort Hays State University farm, giving area residents a glimpse of the fully functioning farm just to the west. from the main campus.
Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education, opened the event.
“We welcome you to another year of Science Cafés, and I want to tell you that this idea came from Dr Clyde Cranwell,” he said. “He said, ‘Yo, Paul, I want people to see what we’re doing on the farm.’ And he said, ‘If you bring people in, we’ll even serve dinner.’ “
Beginning with the Reigel Barn tour, participants toured the entire property seeing machinery, historic buildings, currently planted fields, and animal production while being led by Ryan States of the Crops Division.
He told the group that the farm was originally created with practical needs in mind.
“The university farm was founded in 1908,” States said. “It’s from the military reserve that was distributed to the universities. The farm was created to feed the students on campus and generate income for the university.”
He said the farm covers approximately 3,825 acres with over 1,400 acres of cultivated land.
“We have a little bit of yardage, and the rest is grass mainly for the beef division,” States said.
When it was established, he said seven divisions were operating on the farm, including currently active divisions including beef, harvest, mutton, pork and store divisions, but dairy and horse programs had been halted in the over the years.
Agriculture Director Ivan Anderson shared details of the beef, mutton and pork divisions throughout the tour.
“The university farm currently has 250 mother cows – mostly Red Angus is what we are raising at the moment. We only have a trace of Hereford cows here,” he said. “The Red Angus is sort of the breed for this part of the state, and we have stuck with this breed and are passionate about it just because that’s mainly what you’ll see when you drive in this part of the state. State.”
Nearby bulls, Anderson said, would be marketed statewide and beyond to farmers and ranchers.
“Some of the benefits of doing this for students? It’s just another way of teaching these kids how to market cattle outside of the conventional ways we usually think of going to the barn for sale,” he said. he declared. “It teaches them to identify quality and cattle, how to get them out, how to talk to me with other producers and help sell the product they have.”
Anderson said the sales also help generate income for the farm and offset the cost of farm workers.
“Right now, the animal science section employs nine students,” Anderson said. “So these kids are here every day of the week. They feed these cattle. If they are sick, they learn to care for them and give them medicine – by working with them every day. hands- with the students here. “
Huser said the farm currently has 40 steers from county fairs.
“We use them for the introductory classes, where we can do a lot of hands-on work with the students where they can learn movement,” he said. “One project we did, we walk calves. One did a certain distance, it took him 14 steps, we measured it. The other calf comes to 20 feet before walking the same distance or 20 steps. (This is) talking about energy movement needs to move a good structure versus a bad structure. (In terms of) the feeling of cattle, (that means) condition of learning, learning what finishing is, and they will be coming to market very soon, but they are being introduced to improve the introductory courses that start in the fall. “
But while the tour focused on operations, attendees also saw historic buildings, some dating back to the 1930s.
“In this area, we have quite a few WPA projects, but this is the oldest,” said Kevin Huser, cattle judges trainer said, of a building surrounded by cattle. “It has more of a native stone than the other buildings.”
Moving away from livestock farms, the group saw sheep and pig farms, before visiting the farm’s fields used for crop production and grazing.
“You’ll usually be going here around May Day,” Anderson said. And so on.
But he said the FHSU farm is also working to protect the land as much as possible, carefully monitoring the fields for overgrazing.
“I think it’s extremely important to be good stewards on the earth,” Anderson said. “And one thing that we’re really careful to watch out for is overgrazing here. And you will kind of notice through our pastures here, these pastures are empty.… Once the milo is harvested, they’ll start coming out on the milo stocks, but it’s something that’s really, really always on our minds, you know. How much grass are we leaving? What are we leaving for next year, especially in this part of the country?
To learn more about the upcoming Science Café, visit www.fhsu.edu/smei/science-cafe.