Clarksville, TN – When the Austin Peay State University Department of Agriculture was a long way from being the fastest-growing college department of agriculture in Tennessee that it is today, one man believed in the potential of both the department and the APSU Farm, a 440-acre plot of land now known as the Farm and Environmental Education Center.
“Dr. Gaines Hunt single-handedly kept the APSU Farm going for several years – sometimes with his own equipment, time and money,” John Bartee Jr., co-chair of the APSU agriculture advisory committee, said. “From an alumni perspective, he’s had a huge impact on the department and the university.”Hunt (’66) wore many hats during his career at Austin Peay, serving as an agriculture professor, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
In March 2016, his former students led a fundraising effort to create the Dr. Gaines C. Hunt Agriculture Scholarship Endowment and the Dr. Gaines C. Hunt Agriculture Classroom/Laboratory – a part of the University’s new $1 million Animal Science Facility.
“In late November of 2015, phone calls were made to alumni of the department, and by the first of January, we had raised enough money to endow his scholarship and name the agriculture classroom,” Bartee said, describing the impact Hunt had on Department alumni.
On October 18th, Austin Peay and the Agriculture Farm Advisory Board invite alumni and community members to visit the facility for an Agriculture Alumni Harvest and New Farm Facility Open House. The event begins at 5:45pm at the facility on Pickens Road in Clarksville, and will include a tour of the facility at 6:15pm.
In addition to the Dr. Gaines C. Hunt Agriculture Classroom/Laboratory, the Animal Science Facility also houses the Ernie and Joan DeWald Livestock Pavilion and the Farm Credit Mid-America Laboratory, the home of the Department’s state-of-the-art genetics and breeding programs. The event will honor Ernie and Joan DeWald, as well as Farm Credit Mid-America and the many legislators and donors whose support made the project possible.
Senator Mark Green, Representative Curtis Johnson (Speaker Pro Tem), Representative Joe Pitts and Representative. Jay Reedy were instrumental in securing the special state appropriations to support local contributions. Additional donations from Planters Bank, Farm Bureau, the Montgomery County Co-Op and Legends Bank helped to finalize the project.
“The construction of this facility was an overall community effort,” Sudbrink said. “Without the help of everyone from our alumni, friends, community members, businesses and legislators who are committed to our mission of teaching and training, this project could not have happened.”
For more information on the Animal Science Facility or other projects at the Farm and Environmental Education Center, contact the APSU Department of Agriculture at 931.221.7272.