Orange pumpkins, bales of hay and golden mums blanketed the fields of Stanley Pullen Farm in preparation for crowds of school children attending Murray State’s annual Fall on the Farm Sept. 30.
Murray State students operate the event. Tony Brannon, dean of Hutson school of Agriculture, said the idea for Fall on the Farm came from his wife.
“She went on a field trip to learn more about farm life with our son’s class to a farm a couple of hours away,” Brannon said.
When she came back, she insisted that Murray could do it better.
Eleven years later Fall on the Farm is going strong. Rhea Ann Wright-Holland, Academic Services coordinator, said the event has grown over the years.
“We used to just have schools from Murray come, but now they come from as far away as Jackson, Tenn.,” she said.
Fall on the Farm is open to school trips during the week and then open to the public on the weekend.
More than 200 Murray State students signed up to work at the event, Wright-Holland said.
Fall on the Farm is hosted by the Agriculture Leadership Council.
The council is composed of two representatives from each of the clubs in the Hutson School of Agriculture.
At Fall on the Farm, a personal collection of antique tools were on display.
Luke King, senior from Burkesville, Ky., owns all of the tools displayed.
“This is a fraction of what I own,” King said.
His collection is a product of countless hours spent at yard sales and auctions.
“In a big pile of junk, you’ll almost always find some old farm tools,” he said.
Students participating in the exhibit put on overalls and straw hats to teach an audience of children how to use farm tools from the past.
Leah Cline, junior from Crofton, Ky., said she frantically sewed her farm dress the night before the demonstration.
“We all work really hard to make this event happen,” Cline said.
Cline has worked at the antique tools booth for three years and said her favorite tool to talk about was the old iron.
“I tell the children that I used to have crooked toe, but that I dropped the hot iron on them to straighten them out,” she said.
The antique tool booth is sponsored by Collegiate Farm Bureau and has been at Fall on the Farm for four years.
Children were given a lesson on how to milk a wooden cow. Participants also learn how to churn butter.
The cow is sponsored by the Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority.
Gayle Hemker, junior from Bartelso, Ill., said lessons from the farm tend to resonate with the kids more.
“This is a great opportunity to educate children in a hands-on way,” she said.
“Thank God For a Farmer” was the theme of the corn maze this year.
Ryan Morrow, agricultural technology coordinator, has been responsible for designing the maze for the past 10 years.
“I try to make it harder every year, but this is the hardest I have ever made it,” Morrow said.
Pumpkins, T-shirts and concessions were on sale at Fall on the Farm.
Brannon said that an average of $7,500 is dispersed among the clubs after the event.
Morrow’s mother, Pat Morrow, was a volunteer at Fall on the Farm.
“This year I am selling T-shirts, but last year I worked at the end of the corn maze,” she said.
This is the eighth year that she and her husband have driven from Missouri to help with the event.
“It does your heart good,” she said.
Pat said Fall on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and gives college students a chance to practice their leadership skills.
“I hope they continue to do Fall on the Farm because I have seen the joy that it brings,” Morrow said.
Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Staff writer