October 22, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

Officials from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and community leaders unveiled a historical highway marker Oct. 16 highlighting the history of the UK Research and Education Center.

The marker, No. 2118, was erected along Kentucky 91 across from the entrance to the center. It notes the center’s rich history in western Kentucky.

The marker reads: “Established by Ky. Legislature in 1924 as Western Ky. Sub-experiment Station of the Univ. of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Original 400 acres donated by Caldwell Co. citizens. S.J. Lowry was supt., 1924-1963. First office/service building was completed in 1931. The Research and Education Building was dedicated in 1980.”

The Kentucky Historical Highway Markers program commemorates the Commonwealth’s history and is a program of the Kentucky Historical Society in partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

“We are glad to be here today for this dedication for this historical marker and recognizing the importance of this research center to the area’s history,” said Richard Frymire, vice president of the Kentucky Historical Society.

“This marker today records for posterity the partnership between the citizens of Caldwell County who donated 400 acres and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture in developing an experiment station to improve crop production and selection. And the important thing is the vision of the citizens in 1920 is recorded by this marker so that this generation and those to follow will know that local leaders nearly 80 years ago made good decisions that benefit this generation and those to come.”

UK and the College of Agriculture are proud of the close connection between the Caldwell County community and the research station, and are committed to continue to build on that, said Nancy Cox, agriculture Associate Dean for Research.

“There’s no better example of where research hits the ground than where we stand right now,” she said. “Our experts have been leaders in the beef industry, precision agriculture, nutrient management, environmental aspects of farming, community development and I could go on and on. They are committed to providing the very best information for the community, state and nation.”

A committee from the UKREC began working on the marker project about four years ago and also put together a history of the station. Heading the committee was agronomist Monroe Rasnake.

Mary Grace Pettit, Caldwell County chair of the Kentucky Highway Marker Program, also played an instrumental role in making the marker a reality.

“We are so happy to dedicate this beautiful marker today in honor of this research center,” she said. “This industry has improved the lives of Caldwell county farmers, Kentucky farmers, and national farmers. They’ve even traveled to foreign countries to share their expertise. We are so fortunate to have this institution in our community.”

Since its beginnings some 80 years ago, the station has expanded in staff, land and research efforts, Rasnake said. Initially, specialists based in Lexington conducted all the research. Over the years, that has changed. Today, the station includes about 1,300 acres. Both the original building and the Rottgering-Kuegel Building (the research and education building) are used today and about 75 people are employed at the center.



Writer: Laura Skillman  270-365-7541 ext. 278