April 21 at EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm
RICHMOND, Ky. (April 4, 2017) — Eastern Kentucky University will dedicate a new, state-of-the-art beef handling facility designed by Temple Grandin and her colleague, Mark Deesing. An open house and guided tour are scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 21 at EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm.
Grandlin visited EKU in September 2011 to deliver a Chautauqua lecture. While on campus, she visited the university’s farm, where she addressed faculty, students and regional agriculturalists. It was at that time that Dr. Ed Fredrickson, associate professor in EKU’s Department of Agriculture, asked Grandin if she would help design a new beef handling system that would incorporate many of the livestock handling concepts that she often promotes to a livestock industry anxious to improve the health and welfare of animals in their care.
“The goal of her work is to use the natural behavior of livestock to design systems that minimize stress and injury to livestock,” said Fredrickson, “An added benefit of these systems is that they require fewer people to move and care for more cattle.”
Working from designs by Grandin and Deesing in their book “Humane Livestock Handling,” Mark Metcalf of Metcalf Metal added some unique innovations of his own, including magnetic gate closures.
Besides the obvious benefits to the animals, students will learn on a system that now dominates the industry and is much safer for handlers.
The new EKU facilities are equipped to automatically identify and weigh cattle as they cross a hydraulic squeeze chute that secures them without injury. “The entire system allows students to safely access all parts of the animal as they learn routine management skills and conduct research projects. Along with our students, we expect the facilities will be used for Extension and other educational programs, benefiting Kentucky cattlemen.”
The Silencer chute helps facilitate various services, such as vaccination, castration, breeding and pregnancy checks, explained Justin McKinney, director of farms for EKU.
Although Grandin will be unable to attend, Deesing is expected to speak at the April 21 dedication ceremony, along with EKU President Michael Benson, college and departmental officials, and state officials. The public is invited. Prior to the ceremony, the KCA Executive Committee will hold a business meeting at the farm.
Operated by the University’s Department of Agriculture, Meadowbrook Farm is located eight miles east of campus in eastern Madison County near Waco.