For The Independent
The future site of the Boyd County High School Athletic Complex is reaping rewards before it is built.
Joe Childers, agriculture and horticulture instructor for the Boyd County Career and Technical Education Center, looked at the open field, which spreads in the foreground of the new high school and is approximately 11 acres in size, and saw potential — as a hay field.
“The contractors sewed hay-grade seed here,” Childers said, picking a handful of grasses and legumes. “There’s white clover, fescue and orchard grass. When I talked to a few people about possibly mowing this property, a lot of them thought this would all be lespedeza.”
Lespedeza is a legume commonly sewn in mine reclamation areas. Childers said it has no real nutritional value for livestock. He was pleased to find, however, the quality of seed used by the builders of the high school.
The hay Childers has mown will be baled in round bales and sold to raise money for the agriculture program at BCCTEC. Parents and volunteers will provide the baler and manpower required. “I’ve already had someone request 20 bales,” Childers said.
Not only is it a fundraising project, but Childers sees the classroom application as he surveys the acreage. “I’ll be able to introduce the kids to the science of forage production. Later on, the goal is to have several 4-H projects and exhibits.” Doubling over a handful of grasses, he tells how he can show students the way hay reacts when not allowed to dry properly. “I can put this is a jar, place a temperature gauge in the top and show them how hot it gets as it ferments — enough to potentially ignite.”
Many people don’t know that Kentucky is eighth in the nation in cattle production and number one east of the Mississippi River. “We have the perfect climate here in our state for cow and calf production,” Childers said. “Many of our beef are born and raised here then sent out west to be fattened up for slaughter.”
Based on those numbers, he knows there is a need for more agricultural education at the high school level.
Childers hopes to have a fall cut and sell more bales, and there are plans to use the acreage as demo plots once the school year begins.
Anyone interested in purchasing hay may call Joe Childers at (606) 232-6464. All proceeds will go to the BCCTEC agriculture program and the Future Farmers of America chapter at the high school.