From Issue Winter 2021

South Farm Facilities Unit

By: Karen Brasher

South Farm Facilities Unit

Facilities Unit: (L to R) Darrell Bryant, Sammy Jones, Brad Dewberry, Dewaine Graham (not pictured Blake Miller) (Photo by Karen Brasher)

The MAFES H. H. Leveck Animal Research Center, known as South Farm, includes 1,100 acres of grazing land and houses the Beef Unit, Poultry Unit, Equine Unit, Aquaculture Unit, and Facilities Unit. Caring for livestock is a daily job, 365 days a year. The dedicated personnel at these units care and feed for the animals, while also facilitating the research and teaching programs. The farm and its livestock provide an ample training ground for students in all majors, particularly those in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, Department of Poultry Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

With 1,100 acres and 10 miles of fencing, the facilities unit of five stays busy on the farm. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. The crew is led by Sammy Jones, farm supervisor and a 13-year veteran of the university. The crew builds pens for animals, installs and repairs fences, repairs and maintains roads and water lines, harvests hay, plants ryegrass, fertilizes, among a host of other duties required to keep the farm operational. Each year, they harvest 1,500 to 2,000 round bales of hay and 1,500 square bales. Dewaine Graham is a 25-year veteran of the farm crew and enjoys his career and the variability in the work. Brad Dewberry, a 19-year veteran, previously worked for the poultry unit. After moving to Alabama, he moved back home, and returned to the farm. He has been working for the South Farm facilities unit for four months. Darrell Bryant worked in the poultry unit before moving to the farm and has been with the university for 13 years. Blake Miller has also been with the farm for 13 years. The agricultural technicians appreciate the camaraderie they share as a team and knowing that the work they do ensures the farm is maintained for research and teaching activities.