EKU Dairy to celebrates 100th

Eastern Kentucky University’s Stateland Dairy began in 1912, with the purchase of 116 acres in what is now Stateland Subdivision for $18,000. One hundred years later, the dairy, now located at Meadowbrook Farm near Waco, Ky., has grown to become one of the top-producing herds in the state, and among the top-five university herds nationally for classification scores.

“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 and a member of the event planning committee.

The dairy’s stall barn is loaded with features to maximize comfort for Stateland’s award-winning herd. Beginning this fall, those features will include “water” beds for the cattle.

The loving care has paid off handsomely 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. Also, the dairy recently received a generous donation of 90 embryos from the Brown Swiss Association to support research 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.”

After the initial purchase of land by the Eastern Board of Regents in 1912 to build the first dairy, the property was sold in 1922, and 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.

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