Beginnings of Stateland Farm at EKU

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Beginnings of Stateland Farm at EKU


Eastern Kentucky University has operated a college farm which specializes in registered , Holstein cattle since 1912, although few institutions of higher education have ever had such an enterprise. Established in 1906 as a normal school, Eastern focused upon the education of teachers for the public schools in eastern Kentucky. Since a great proportion of the public school pupils were from farm families, 'domestic science and modern agriculture were important subjects taught in their schools. Recorded in the minutes of the Board of Regents in October 1911 was a recommendation by the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs that this new Institution "make such provisions as necessary to thoroughly prepare students ... to successfully teach Elementary Domestic Science and Agriculture to the Public Schools of Kentucky." President John Grant Crabbe agreed. The following year, the board appointed President Crabbe, Eastern's treasurer R E. Turley, and state superintendent of public instruction, Barksdale Hamlett, to "acquire a prospective farm adjacent or accessible to our present campus" at the suggested price of $25,000 for 100 acres. In September 1912, upon President Crabbe's recommendation, "the Whittaker Farm of 116.45 acres, located on Barnes Mill Pike, cost $18,280" was purchased. The place was named "Stateland" and at once it began to provide practical application for what students learned in science, health, home economics, agriculture, and "manual training" classes. A small herd of eight cows was purchased to provide milk for the cafeteria (then in Sullivan Hall) and also for animal husbandry and herd management experiences for agriculture students. Large gardens, tended by students, grew fresh vegetables for the cafeteria, with the surpluses sold on the local markets. In 1922, the Stateland Farm was sold, resulting in Eastern's having a profit of $2,400 and in addition, equipment and livestock worth about $3,000. The Gibson farm, the present New Stateland Farm adjacent to the south side of the college campus, was soon purchased. Two later additions, the Bond and Perciful tracts, increased the frontage on Lancaster Pike and expanded the farm to 175 acres. The present Weaver Health Building, Model Laboratory School, Wallace Building, and Chapel of Meditation all occupy sites that were once part of the college farm. Unfortunately this farm, long occupied by tenants, was in very poor shape when Eastern pur-chased it. The house was in serious disrepair, the fences were down, the pastures were full of noxious weeds, and one 25-acre field had been used for corn crops for seven consecutive years. However, all of the repairs and improvements over the next several years were made out of the profits of the farm. In 1936, associate professor of agriculture Ashby B. Carter reported that New Stateland Farm had a new dairy barn, 33 registered Holstein cows of superior quality, vegetable fields, hog and beef feeder pens and slaughter houses, a fruit orchard and a flock of 400 chickens. Most of the work was done by students and most of the products were used in the college's cafeteria.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “Beginnings of Stateland Farm at EKU,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed July 13, 2024,