May 27, 2005 | By: Laura Skillman

Now that Rose Hullett owns some land in Warren County, she’s considering what enterprises may be available to help supplement her income in the future. To help in the decision process, she turned to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service office in the county and a new program called “Living on a Few Acres.”

“It’s definitely given me lots of things to explore,” Hullett said. “I’m very interested in horticulture.”

The program was the brainchild of Joanna Coles, Warren County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources and Steve Osborne, Allen County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. This is the first year for the program, which offers sessions in each county and totals seven classes. The agents share teaching duties. They enlisted the help of Carol LaFaver, Warren County Extension agent for horticulture, to provide a horticulture session.

The program began in February and concludes this month. The series opened with a session called “Where Do I Start?” which touched on topics ranging from goal setting, agencies and services, good neighbor polices, available financial resources and record keeping. Other sessions have outlined soils and forages, equipment and farm safety, land and land improvements (fencing, buildings, water and woodlands), livestock production, horticulture and farm diversification.

“There was interest from the Extension council and from participants in a small farm workshop,” Coles said. “We developed the topics to get them started, and if they want to know more about something we can offer specific classes later on those subjects. The basis topics are things they need to know to run a farm and be successful.”

Gary and Mary Hext bought eight acres about three years ago and are raising some cattle on the land. She comes from a farming background, while he grew up in town and visited his grandparents’ farm on weekends.

“We moved from town to the country and after we got out there, we had this eight acres and we decided we needed to do something with it,” Mary Hext said.

There was a barn and fence, Gary Hext said. So they bought some cattle and this year sold there first two calves.

They attended “Living on a Few Acres” because it sounded like it would provide them with needed information.

“My dad helped us but there is a whole lot more we want to know,” she said. “We’ve learned a whole lot, and if we’d had this two years ago, we probably would have avoided some of the mistakes we’ve made.”

“You just always want to further your education,” he said. “This is fun for us, but it is serious fun because you can make a little money, and we enjoy looking out on our back deck and seeing the cows.”

Coles and Osborne said their counties continue to have landowners with a few acres wanting information on ways to utilize their ground.

“Allen County is getting more and more urbanized and we get more questions from residents with small acreage, but we really didn’t have a set program to offer until now,” he said.

Both agents said they will gauge interest in their counties to determine whether and when to offer it again. Coles said she anticipates offering it in the coming year because she has already had several inquiries.


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

Contact: Joanna Coles, 270-842-1681
Steve Osborne, 270-237-3146