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University welcomed into Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus program

October 1, 2014 News

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer welcomed Murray State into the Kentucky Proud Farm to Campus program yesterday.
“This region is one of the most productive areas in the nation, with a top-notch agriculture school, so it’s only fitting to have Murray State in the Farm to Campus program so they can share more of the abundance of this area’s farmers and food producers,” Comer said. “On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, we look forward to helping (Murray State) find more local foods for its students, faculty and staff.”
Farm to Campus is a official state program that connects Kentucky farmers and food producers in the state with higher education institutions.
“We are ‘Kentucky Proud’ to join the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to Campus network of universities across the Commonwealth,” Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said. “Working together, our dining services, University bookstore and the Cherry Exposition Center have identified several Kentucky Proud products and we look forward to helping market them on campus.”
Murray State is the eighth Kentucky school in the Farm to Campus program. Other universities include Asbury University, Campbellsville University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown University, the University of Louisville, Morehead State University and the University of Pikeville.

Staff Report 

Student attends US Department of Agriculture national forum

March 1, 2013 News

Murray State recently honored senior agriculture business student, Samantha Anderson, for her invitation to the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program in Arlington, Va., Feb. 21-22.

Anderson was one of 20 students nationwide selected to attend the event.

The students invited to the diversity program were selected based on their responses to an essay on agriculture as a career.

Not only was Anderson the only student selected from Kentucky, but her essay has been posted on the USDA website as one of three examples of a winning essay.

Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said he is proud of Anderson’s achievements and is glad she was able to represent Murray State.

“For Samantha to be selected for this prestigious conference is a great honor for her, for our school of agriculture and for Murray State,” Brannon said. “I am especially proud of Samantha not only because she was accepted for the program, but also because her application was posted on the website as the example of a winning essay.

Anderson’s essay discusses growing up on her family’s seventh-generation tobacco farm and about how her family’s business has taught her about responsibility and learning from one’s mistakes. She also discussed today’s many options for those pursuing careers as agriculturists and about how they are no longer limited to production.

Anderson said she is very grateful for her experience at the diversity program, and she encourages future students to take advantage of such an opportunity.

“To represent Murray State and the state of Kentucky at the 2013 Agriculture Outlook Forum was an amazing honor,” Anderson said. “I am grateful for the experience that I had in Washington D.C., and I hope to see future students at Murray State take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

She said the multiple networking opportunities and the education on future trends in agribusiness and agricultural policy were not the only benefits of her experience at the diversity program.

Prior to the forum, the participants in the Student Diversity Program were able to tour a USDA research farm in Beltsville, Md., and hear from speakers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Anderson said she is grateful for all those who have contributed to her success in agriculture. She is also looking forward to seeing how the diversity program will affect her future career in agriculture.

“I am appreciative for those in my life who have encouraged me to succeed at Murray State, especially Brannon, Christy Watkins and Rhea Ann Wright,” Anderson said. “For my career, being selected allowed me to interact and make contacts with leaders in agriculture policy.”

Story by Alex Berg, Staff writer.

Semiannual Bull Blowout attracts crowd

October 25, 2012 News

A cowboy rides a bull on the semiannual Bull Blowout on Oct. 20. || Kylie Townsend/The News

Hundreds of cowboy hats and dirty boots filled the William “Bill” Cherry Agricultural Expo Center last weekend for the semiannual Bull Blowout, hosted by the Murray State Rodeo team.

The featured events were bull riding and barrel racing and exhibition events for children such as the calf scramble and mutton busting.

Mutton busting is for children 6-years-old and younger ride sheep. The participants attempt to stay on for eight seconds, like the bull riders.

The longest eight seconds in sports took place while approximately 40 men tried to stay on one of the many bulls determined to buck them off.

While the men had eight seconds or less of competition, the women’s barrel racing last a little longer with most rides lasting approximately 15 seconds.

Parsons and Milam Rough Stock Contractors promote and contract out bulls for events like this. They are also the sponsors for Bull Blowout.

Several of the bulls had names such as Jug Head, Peter Pan, Houdini and Mean Machine.

Taylor Smith, sophomore from Benton, Ky., said she loves competing in the barrel racing events at her home arena.

“My favorite part about competing is getting to show the fans what I have worked so hard to accomplish,” Smith said. “I trained my barrel horse myself, and with the win here at Murray I got to prove to people that I could do it.”

She said one of her favorite parts of competing is when the crowd starts cheering and her adrenaline is rushing.

Smith said she won first place at the college rodeo in the barrel racing that took place on Oct. 4-6.

“To have family members and friends come out and cheer me is on amazing,” Smith said.

Kyle Smith, freshman from New Springfield, Ohio., said it was very exciting be able to compete at his home arena in front of a full audience of people.

Smith was one of the many bull riders that competed during the Bull Blowout.

“We also held a college rodeo in the expo center over fall break so being able to compete in that arena twice in the month was awesome because we were competing in front of a home crowd that was very supportive,” Smith said. “My favorite part of competing is the feeling after you make a good ride or have a good run. It’s just like making a game winning touchdown or hitting a home run, just in the rodeo arena.”

Kaitlyne Davis, graduate student from Kevil, Ky., represents Murray State as Miss MSU Rodeo.

She said representing Murray State as Miss MSU Rodeo is a great honor.

“I am so blessed to have this privilege,” Davis said. “Carrying the flag at any rodeo performance is a privilege and an experience that I love.”

Davis has the title of Miss MSU Rodeo for one year.

“As I ride around the arena and see all of the former and current military members saluting the flag, and the crowd stopping what it is doing as soon as the flag enters the arena gives me a sense of pride for our country,” Davis said. “Any competition is just as exciting as the next, however, being on ‘home turf’ and knowing that fellow team members and classmates are competing with me and are in the crowd is an awesome feeling.”

The next Bull Blowout is in February. For more information on the University’s Rodeo team, call 270-809-3039.

Story by Meghann AndersonAssistant News Editor

Agriculture event yields more than 1,000 participants

September 24, 2012 News

The Hutson School of Agriculture and the Agriculture Leadership Council hosted their 9th annual Fall on the Farm event at Murray State’s Pullen farm complex last week. The event was open to the public on Saturday, Sept.  22nd, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but had been open since Sept. 17 for school visits.

The event was designed to help elementary school children learn about agriculture in a fun and educational way. Among the attractions included at the event were hayrides, a corn maze, a plant sale, a petting zoo, pony rides, cow milking (on a wooden cow of course!), pumpkin painting and a corn pit, which is like a ball pit.

Rhea Ann Wright, academic services coordinator for the Hutson School of Agriculture, said the Agriculture Leadership Council provides the backbone to the event, as far as coordination, workers, and help with setting up go.

“It’s really a collaborative event with the entire school of agriculture.” She said.

Joy Straney, president of the Ag Leadership Council and a junior from Flaherty, Ky., was pleased at the turnout of the event.

“Wednesday through Friday we’ve had around 1,200 kids here,” she said. “Today we’ve had a large turnout, more than we expected. All our parking lots are full, which we are very thankful for.”

Straney was also pleased that children were having fun as well as learning a thing or two about agriculture as well.

“We also have students from the Agriculture Education Department that have been teaching a lesson throughout the week,” she said. “So it’s actually a part of their class where they have to educate young children about … all the essentials to growing corn. We also have another group of students that teach children about tractor safety and milking cows.”

Tony Brannon, the Dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said an event is added to Fall on the Farm every year to make Fall on the Farm bigger and better than it was the previous year.

“(Fall on the Farm) is one of our great community service activities for Murray, Calloway County and the surrounding communities,” he said.

He said all of the proceeds from Fall on the Farm go back into the Hutson School of Agriculture.

“This event is student run, so the money goes back into the students,” Brannon said. “It’s an excellent way for (the agriculture students) to help fund their activities. They have a lots of budgetary needs, and this of course doesn’t meet all of them, but it does help tremendously.”

Story by Kristen Oakley, Contributing writer.

Students assist in Pullen Farm garden responsibilities

April 12, 2012 Features

Ben McGrath/The News

With winding pathways leading down trails of beautiful landscaping, trees and flowers as far as the eye can see and smells that can’t be beat, Pullen Farm is Murray’s hidden treasure. It’s out of sight, but worth the short trip to get there.

Every year Murray State’s own Pullen Farm hosts its annual plant sale, offering everything from geraniums, petunias and becopas, to tomatoes, trees of all variety and kitchen pots. Kitchen pots are a mixture of a variety of herbs commonly used in kitchen recipes, like basil, cilantro and oregano. Every year the students of Murray State make everything possible.

As a horticulture major, Derrick Farlee, senior from Paducah, Ky., does a little bit of everything at Pullen Farm.

“I help raise everything we have here, everything from the petunias to the trees,” Farlee said. “Now I just got a job in the Arboretum here, so that’s something else I get to do.”

Farlee isn’t the only student working at the farm though, as Heather Blankenship, greenhouse manager and horticulture professor, made sure to tell.

“Here at Pullen Farm it is all student done; they really do deserve all the credit,” Blankenship said.

Whether students are working for straight pay, work study, class requirements or just volunteering, the work gets done by students like Farlee and Nyra Whitley, sophomore from Fedalia, Ky., who works there under class requirements for her greenhouse management course.

“I love working here, then again I’ve always just loved working hands-on, especially outside,” Whitley said. “It’s just such a beautiful place that you fall in love with the first time you’re here.” … Continue Reading

Murray State Wildlife, Fisheries Society compete in outdoor competition

April 12, 2012 Features

When nature calls, no one answers it better than the Murray State Wildlife and Fisheries Society. As an organization at Murray for years, the Murray State Wildlife and Fisheries Society has refined its skills and students into the best they can be.

Taking pride in the students who participate, the Wildlife Society makes it as much of a professional organization as possible, dedicating everything they have to helping students make connections to real world opportunities after graduation.

“We give them everything we can,” said Cody Fouts, president of the Wildlife Society and senior from Booneville, Ind. “We bring in professional speakers from all different kinds of fields.”

This will be showcased later this month at the Wildlife Society’s last meeting of the year, on April 24, featuring a speaker from the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Community Outreach Conservation.

Also coming up on Earth Day, the Wildlife Society is screening the film “Green Fire” in the Curris Center Theater. “Green Fire” is a full length documentary film showcasing the career of renowned environmentalist Aldo Leopold.

The Murray State Wildlife and Fisheries Society gets their students into action. Every year around Spring Break, the Wildlife Society travels to the Southeastern Wildlife Conclave where they test their skills in numerous competitions. … Continue Reading

University may receive $4 million for Breathitt

March 14, 2012 News

Austin Ramsey
News Editor

President Randy Dunn and the University Board of Regents are handling a certain $4 million in the proposed state budget with steady hands.

While most state institutions prepare for future woes in light of Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposed 6.4 percent cut to education, that $4 million was allocated for the replacement of the Breathitt Veterinary Center, a diagnostic data center in Hopkinsville, Ky.

The Center is part of the Hutson School of Agriculture.

Most administrators and Board members say they are thankful for the additional funding, but confused as to why the University’s veterinary center received it. … Continue Reading

Soybeans take event’s center stage

January 27, 2012 News
Chris Wilcox
Staff writer

Kylie Townsend/contributing photographer

Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture and the Kentucky Soybean Board hosted the eighth Annual Soybean Promotion Day Tuesday.

Faculty, staff, student and community members attended the event held in the CFSB Center’s Murray Room.
Also in attendance were Mayor Bill Wells, Davey Stevens, a Kentucky Soybean Association Representative, and Dennis Clark, member of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. … Continue Reading
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