Public university in the Midwest for 18 years running (U.S. News & World Report)
The 400-acre University Farm at Truman State University is located on the edge of Kirksville, Mo., about a mile from campus. The Farm features:
Facilities at the farm include a classroom and office building, cattle and equine
breeding barns, shop, two greenhouses, hay storage, and some on-farm
The cattle herd maintained by Truman consists of approximately 40
purebred and full blood Gelbvieh cattle housed at the University Farm
for use in classes and research projects. Students are involved in all
aspects of management, selection, breeding and feeding of the beef herd.
History of the University Farm
Truman State University has had a farm since June 30, 1910, though the current location for the Farm was acquired in 1980. The original farm was under the supervision of the Division of Rural Education in the area that is presently occupied by Red Barn Park in the heart of the campus.
In 1980, the University purchased the present University Farm site from the Denslow family. This site, located at the southwest corner of Kirksville, was established in the 1800’s by the Dodson family. Eli Dodson was born on the farm in 1858 and was the last Dodson to own it. In 1921, at the age of 63, Mr. Dodson sold his 373 acres to George Laughlin, Doctor of Osteopathy. Dr. Laughlin, and his partner Dr. Charles Still, became known as breeders and importers of purebred Jersey cattle, and also raised Berkshire hogs. At their peak, they are recorded to have owned 100 head of Jersey cows and 300 Berkshire hogs. They are also reported to have received record prices for Jerseys sold from their farm, one cow bringing $13,000.
Later, the operation became nationally known as a producer of purebred Angus cattle under the name of Thousand Hills Farm. At his death, Dr. Laughlin owned 3000 acres. Following his death, Dr. Laughlin’s wife oversaw the farm, and eventually her daughter, Jane Denslow, inherited the property. Before she died, Mrs. Laughlin donated some 1150 acres to the city of Kirksville for use in the creation of Forest Lake to serve the city’s water needs.
In 1980, Mrs. Denslow sold 1,200 acres to the Missouri Department of Conservation, which became the Big Creek State Forest. Northeast Missouri State University purchased 132 acres, which is the current site of the University Farm. In September, 1999, Truman gained possession of an additional 268 acres from the Missouri Department of Conservation so that the University Farm today encompasses 400 acres.
At the time of purchase in 1980, the University Farm was intended as a laboratory for undergraduates studying field crops and livestock. At that time, it was envisioned that corn, sorghum, soybeans and wheat be grown, mainly to support an animal population of beef cattle, feeder calves and dairy cattle. Plans included adding sheep, swine and horses as well.
The University began negotiations with the Missouri Department of Conservation to lease 268 acres for grazing livestock. The land included in this leased acreage was permanently added to University holdings in September, 1999. Today, only beef cattle and horses are housed at the Farm, and soybeans, corn and hay are produced there.
For more information, contact:
Bill Kuntz, Farm Manager
Michael Seipel, Agricultural Science Department Chair
"The atmosphere at Truman is warm. People here are friendly and are willing to help you whenever you need it. Also, there are plenty of organizations available to help international students to make new friends, understand new cultures, and enjoy life in America."
– Anh Duc Mai, Mathematics & Economics, Vietnam