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Kaskaskia College and Fayette County Farm Bureau Celebrate Partnership for Brownstown Research Station


It started with the discovery of a deed in a file dated from 1937, and today its providing new educational opportunities for students in the Kaskaskia College Agriculture program, as well as providing services to farmers in the region.  The deed in question is from the purchase of a farm near Brownstown by the Fayette County Farm Bureau that is now the site of the Brownstown Research Station.  A field day and plot tour was conducted on September 5 to showcase the new collaboration between the two agencies. 


The site has been in operation as an agriculture research station since 1937 through the University of Illinois.  Farm Bureau President Ken Cripe told the crowd that after discovering the deed, and learning the state and U of I had decided to stop operating the farm last year, the Bureau chose to continue the operate the site as their forefathers intended.  They approached Kaskaskia College who agreed to become a partner in the site’s operation, continuing an already strong partnership.   “I want to thank Kaskaskia College for partnering with us as this is an excellent outdoor classroom for these students,” said Cripe referring to the KC Ag students in attendance. 


KC Ag Professor Bill Waggoner says the new site allows students a more practical and hands on approach to their education.  “I want to thank the Fayette County Farm Bureau for letting us come in and take over the operation of the farm,” said Waggoner.  “It’s a great educational opportunity for our students and that’s what we are here for.”  Another partnership was developed with farm cooperative South Central FS who provided the seeds and planting for the farm this summer.  KC Ag Professor Aaron Heinzmann echoed Waggorner’s comments, “This has been a very good partnership so far, and an excellent learning experience for the students. We've been very happy with their engagement in the project, and hope that it will continue to grow as we integrate the studies being conducted at BRS into our coursework and labs.  There is simply no substitute for the experiences that the students will gain with resources like this.” 


Waggoner noted 16 acres of test site was planted with corn and 15 acres with soybeans.  The test sites were planted at different populations and sprayed with different chemicals so students could monitor and learn which worked, which did not and why.  This fall the program is planning to conduct a wheat trial on 17 acres, then grow pumpkins next summer on part of the trial at the site to be used by students participating in the Ag-in-the-Classroom program.  Waggoner also said U of I will continue weather monitoring at the site as well. 


Stephanie Kraus, Manager of the Bond and Fayette County Farm Bureaus says they are thrilled to have the Kaskaskia College Ag Department continue research at the Fayette County Farm Bureau Research Center. She adds, “The Farm Bureau Board of Directors wanted to see the land continue to provide educational opportunities for the students and the community, as it has since 1937. Bill Waggoner and his students have done a phenomenal job with the Research Station in a short amount of time, and we all look forward to seeing how they optimize their use of the land in the future.”


It was a desire to educate and train the farmers of tomorrow that led the Fayette County Farm Bureau to transform a farm in 1937 into a research station.  Today, 80 years later, Kaskaskia College is assisting in ensuring that vision continues far into the future.         

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