The Extension Service is officially 100 years old this year, and so is the Feldun-Purdue Ag Center located just west of Bedford.
Today it is 880 acres of pasture, hay, cropland and woods that houses a large commercial cow herd, plus the Indiana Bull Test Evaluation station.
Roughly 300 bulls per year are fed and evaluated at the station. The best are sold to cattlemen at the Springville Auction nearby twice a year- spring and fall.
"We've got bulls coming in from all over the country to be on our test," says Brad Shelton, current superintendent of the farm. Many other states no longer run bull test stations. So we get people bringing them from several states away to have them tested and hopefully sell them if they perform well."
Most of the bulls that come in today are black. Most of the cows in the commercial herd at the farm are black as well. It wasn't always that way, but the farm has followed the industry, and has bred for quality black cattle.
The farm was given to Purdue by a thriving businessman, Moses Fell Dunn. His belief was that farmers should diversify, and apples were a good crop for southern Indiana. For decades the farm maintained and even did work on improving apples. John Hodges, superintendent beginning in 1964 until the early 1990s, says the last apple trees were removed while he was superintendent.
Various research studies on forages and on cows have been completed over the years at the farm. Currently Terry Stewart, a Purdue animal scientist, is wrapping up analyzing data from a long-term test on the herd. More tests will likely be planned in the future. The cattle graze using the rotational grazing system.
The celebration field day is Saturday, August 23, beginning at 3 p.m. Dinner will be served after tours are held. Save the date!