Approximately five miles east of Richmond, amidst the gently rolling hills of rural Madison County, the University’s Meadowbrook Farm serves the community as a learning resource while providing EKU students practical experience.
The 720-acre farm, in a constant state of development, includes beef, dairy, swine and sheep livestock operations in addition to the cultivation of corn and other forage crops.
A teaching laboratory that supports EKU’s Department of Agriculture and other academic programs, Meadowbrook also provides outreach to the community in the form of tours by agricultural groups from around the state as well as by K-12 students.
Meadowbrook is home to Stateland Dairy, which celebrated its centennial in 2012 and has earned numerous awards for production and quality throughout its history. This past year, one of its residents, Sun-Made Valentina ET, was named an Honorable Mention All-American Cow in the Milking Yearling class, one of only six cows in the U.S. nominated for the honor. The award-winner is the product of one of many changes at the Farm in recent years – the addition of a Brown Swiss breed to the dairy herd.
Students milk the cows at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day. Comedian and EKU graduate and former faculty member Carl Hurley, “America’s Funniest Professor,” talks often about working his way through Eastern by milking cows at the dairy farm.
Approximately 40 percent of the Dairy’s herd can be traced to the first stock purchased by A.B. Carter a century ago.
Conversely, one of Meadowbrook’s newest and most interesting additions is a herd of purebred Katahdin sheep. Last year, EKU Facilities Services and the University’s Department of Agriculture collaborated to use the sheep to rid land at University-owned Elmwood of unsightly Japanese honeysuckle, euonymus and winter creeper.
Bred in Maine and prized for their adaptability, docile nature, low maintenance and resistance to parasites and foot rot, the Katahdin sheep strip plants of all vegetative matter, leaves and flowers, removing nutrients and weakening the plants. Once plants are irradiated, stumps can be removed and more desirable plants introduced.
Meadowbrook also began this past year to supply produce to Café Burrier on the Richmond campus and will continue to explore ways to supply both produce and meat products to the Café and Aramark Dining Services.