FARM DAYS: Student, faculty focus on research


Horses in fields at WKU Farm. Photo taken by Anna Agarwal Millard North High School.

The sun beamed down on the Xposure journalism workshoppers as they toured the WKU farm via hayride.

The students, who are a part of a journalism experience exposing them to a variety of speakers, field trips and tours, learned about life on a university farm.

Paul Woosley, the director of the Agriculture Exposition Center, showed the 12 students around the 780 acres of farmland.

“I’m in charge of all the people… who make sure everything is good,” Woosley said.

While on the two-hour tour, the students got an up-close view of crop research, vineyards, hemp plants and horse stables, among other things.

“I thought it was fun – it was really informative. I didn’t know about all those things before,” Jaley Adkins, an Xposure workshopper, said of the tour.

Sierra Earnhart, 17, of Bowling Green was impressed with the hemp production.

“I learned about hemp and how it produces CBD (cannabidiol) instead of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol),” she said. “Another thing I learned they don’t want to legalize marijuana, they don’t want the hemp plant to mix up with the THC.”

WKU is participating in five hemp research projects. The small research plots were planted in June, the farm’s website said.

On the farm are labs where students can do experiments and research.

“The farm is a tool used by a wide variety of students pursuing career in all aspects of agriculture such as agribusiness, ag education, ag mechanics and composting,” the website said.

There have been a few additions to the farm over the years, including a new 27-horse stable.

The WKU Farm has a total of 30 horses. The stables come with showers for the horses as well.

“The most interesting thing I learned about the horse stables is how much they don’t stay in the (stables) we visited,” Anna Bryson of Bowling Green said. “That’s essential. It’s a difference between big-named farms and smaller hometown farms being that big-named farms tend not to let their horses be outside as much as smaller farms do. And that’s important because horses need that time outside.”

The 15-year-old said the farm treats “all members right, even four-legged members.”

Finally, the students got an up-close look at the farm’s weather monitoring station, part of WKU’s statewide Mesonet.

Stuart Foster, a professor of geography at WKU, talked to the Xposure students about the weather-monitoring system. He said the Mesonet which people can get on an app, gets weather out to residents quickly. He’s hoping to spread the word about the forecast system.

“I would love to reach out to journalists to get the word out about the Mesonet,” Foster said.

India Rice, a 16-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, liked what she saw of the weather station.

“I thought it was innovative,” she said. “It created a medium for technology and agriculture to work together.”

WKU’s farm, however, is not just a place of weather forecasts and hemp research. The farm also produces dairy products, and consumers can buy meats and cheeses at the farm’s store.

They have all kinds of cheeses, including plain cheese, pepperjack, bacon cheese (their most popular), mild cheese and sharp cheddar.

“I like that they use all natural products,” 17-year old John Hundley of St. Louis, Missouri, said.