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Ag Learning Lab

Thornhill Nature Preserve

Huntington University has been caring for this property since the late 1970s when Ms. Mabel Thorne gifted it to the University. Located 10 minutes north of campus, there are three parcels of land at Thornhill including tillable acres, common space and buildings, and a nature preserve. Approximately 30 acres are tillable and are divided into four separate tracts. The largest parcel is 14 acres and has become the focal point for field activities and observations by students studying agribusiness-crop production and crop science/agronomy.

Until 2019, the tillable acres have been cash rented to a local farmer. Today, however, the acres are operated by Huntington University’s Forester Farms. Dairyland Seed provided the corn seed for the crop trials in 2019 on the 14 acre parcel. In 2020, Forester Farms expanded the operations to all of the parcels and once again partnered with Dairyland Seed to conduct a soybean trial along with a corn variety trial. Additionally, sweet corn seed was provided by Direct Enterprises and has been planted with the intent of selling to the campus and local communities in 2020. Additional partners have included AgPlus, BioDyne,and ForeFront Ag Solutions.

The crop research has focused on the impact of microbial activity, management practices, and varieties on soil health and yield. Thornhill complements the Ware Plant Science Production Facility greenhouse on campus by providing an outdoor learning lab for students enrolled in courses such as Crop Science, Data Management (GIS), Soil and Weather Science, Crop Health and Pest Management, and Crop Production. Future research projects involving faculty and students are being developed in conversation with the above-mentioned partners and others. Some of these future areas may include one or more of the following: microbial products; cover crop management; products and practices affecting pests and diseases as well as crop growth; tillage, planting, and residue management practices; crop rotations; and crop variety comparisons.

Three Rivers Farm – Livestock Learning Lab

In early 2020, the property owners of this 25-acre facility inquired with Huntington University leadership to gauge the interest in taking over this property. A few months later, the University began operating the farm located 20 minutes north of campus. The facility includes multiple fenced-in pastures and run-outs along with three barns, including a seven-stall animal barn with an attached office space.

Forester Farms currently has two Shorthorn cattle housed at this facility with the intent of adding additional cattle of varied breeds in the late summer of 2020. Forester Farms is also using this facility to generate some additional revenue from producing and selling baled hay.

The Three Rivers Farm will serve as a hands-on learning experience for those students pursuing degrees in agribusiness-animal production, animal science, and pre-veterinary medicine. The farm will serve as a lab experience for those students enrolled in courses such as Animal Health and Disease, Livestock Management and Production, and Animal Growth and Development. Additionally, students interested in joining HU’s livestock judging team or other competitive agriculture teams will use the space for their practices.

Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center

Opening in the fall of 2020, the Don Strauss Animal Science Center (ASEC) will serve as an on-campus experiential learning space for students majoring in agribusiness-animal production, animal science, and pre-veterinary medicine. The 10,000 square foot facility includes a flexible pen space with the ability to adapt to different species of farm animals, as well as an enclosed pen space for animals that require more isolation and/or consistent temperature. Included in the space is a 1,400 square foot classroom with observation windows overlooking the flexible pens.

The ASEC will serve as home base those students pursuing degrees in agribusiness-animal production, animal science, and pre-veterinary medicine. The space will serve as a lab experience for those students enrolled in courses such as: Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition of Farm Animals, and Reproduction and Breeding.

When appropriate, the center will also serve as a space for community K-12 schools to visit and learn more about Huntington University and also the animal industry. Area 4-H clubs and FFA chapters have already expressed an interest in visiting the space as part of their youth programming