Austin Peay and the Agriculture Farm Advisory Board invited alumni and community members to the university’s new facility for an Agriculture Alumni Harvest and New Farm Facility Open House.
When the Austin Peay State University Department of Agriculture was a long way from being the fastest-growing college department of agriculture in Tennessee that it is today, one man believed in the potential of both the department and the APSU Farm, a 440-acre plot of land now known as the Farm and Environmental Education Center.
“Dr. Gaines Hunt single-handedly kept the APSU Farm going for several years – sometimes with his own equipment, time and money,” John Bartee Jr., co-chair of the APSU agriculture advisory committee, said. “From an alumni perspective, he’s had a huge impact on the department and the university.”
In addition to the Dr. Gaines C. Hunt Agriculture Classroom/Laboratory, the Animal Science Facility also houses the Ernie and Joan DeWald Livestock Pavilion and the Farm Credit Mid-America Laboratory, the home of the Department’s state-of-the-art genetics and breeding programs.
The event honored Ernie and Joan DeWald, as well as Farm Credit Mid-America and the many legislators and donors whose support made the project possible.
Sen. Mark Green, Rep. Curtis Johnson, Rep. Joe Pitts and Rep. Jay Reedy were instrumental in securing special state appropriations to support local contributions. Additional donations from Planters Bank, Farm Bureau, the Montgomery County Co-Op and Legends Bank helped finalize the project. “The construction of this facility was an overall community effort,” Dr. Don Sudbrink, chair of the APSU Department of Agriculture, said. “Without the help of everyone from our alumni, friends, community members, businesses and legislators who are committed to our mission of teaching and training, this project could not have happened.”