UK Agricultural Research Center, other facilities destroyed by tornado
LEXINGTON / PRINCETON, Ky. (UK Public Relations) – Amid the utter destruction caused by the December 11 tornado outbreak (click to view video), University of Kentucky employees continue to lobby ,
offering help where and when their fellow Kentucky people need it most.
The UK Research and Education Center in Princeton was directly affected (click to view photos) from the powerful tornado that began in northwest Arkansas and left a path of destruction in the western half of Kentucky. UKREC employees, led by manager Carrie Knott, worked all weekend, securing and caring for the animals, assessing damage and offering support.
“Our hometown Heroes of Hope – our teachers, staff and extension workers in our Western Kentucky communities stepped up to help others even as we faced the damage to British facilities critics in western Kentucky, ”said British President Eli Capilouto. “As the University of Kentucky, we understand how important the faculty and staff of the UK Research and Education Center and the Cooperative Extension Service are in relaying educational information to their communities. We are committed to rebuilding, to helping the region recover and come out stronger than before. “
“The center is home to a very dedicated group of UK staff, and I commend Dr Knott and his staff for their heroic weekend recovery efforts,” said Nancy Cox, Dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and UK vice president for the initiation of land grants. “While the center won’t be the same for some time, the college is committed to helping our employees and communities recover from these devastating events and serving the farming community of Western Kentucky. “
While the physical structure that housed UKREC has disappeared, the center has been and always will be vital to Kentucky agriculture. Demonstrating the center’s importance to the state’s agricultural industry, two temporary office buildings and two temporary storage buildings will be placed on site on December 14 for UKREC staff.
“The outpouring of community support has been very humbling for us,” Knott said. “We are not closing our doors, but we will look a little different and be a little more fragmented, at least for the foreseeable future.”
Due to the amount of debris, authorities are asking the public to stay away from the center as the area is dangerous and structurally unstable.
The center was established in 1925 on nearly 1,300 acres about a mile from downtown Princeton. In 1980, the Rottgering-Kuegel Agricultural and Extension Building was added and housed nearly 50 center staff and hosted countless extension and zone meetings. This facility has undergone a major refurbishment and addition to house the UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, which opened in 2019. Since its inception, many stakeholders have provided strong support to the center and essential funding for good. many of its improvements.
“The Kentucky farming community is a strong community. It’s a caring and generous community, ”said Chad Lee, director of the Cereal and Forage Center of Excellence. “We’re going to be relying on them a lot to help us get through this as we work to rebuild. Our hearts are broken but our minds are not.
Over the years, scientists at the center have led many important research efforts, including numerous no-till research projects, studies of applications in precision agriculture, and a breakthrough in soil fragipan research. The Center’s specialists have been the go-to resource for farmers in the region for research-based information in agronomy, fodder, beef management, disease control, pest control, precision agriculture, grain storage systems, soil fertility and cereal marketing.
Many counties face the consequences of destructive tornadoes. The UK Co-operative Extension Service is working diligently with organizations across the region to meet the needs of tornado victims.
Extension has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to provide support to affected farmers. Those wishing to donate agricultural supplies should contact their local extension office. Extension agents will deliver commodities to KDA for distribution to farmer organizations working to meet the needs of affected farmers.
Kentucky 4-H has a 4-H’ers Helping 4-H’ers Relief Fund https://kentucky4hfoundation.org/relief-fund/ which collects donations to help affected 4-H members, families and staff.
The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management is also accepting donations and volunteer requests for relief efforts. Individuals can offer to donate supplies or request to volunteer at https://arcg.is/8aqnO.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Kentucky Farm Bureau to develop a GoFundMe account on https://gofund.me/6855c668 provide financial support to affected farmers. Donations are tax deductible.
Individuals wishing to make monetary donations to the victims of the tornado, can do so by making a donation through the UK Office of Philanthropy at https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/9900-cafe-annual-discretionary-fund. Individuals can donate to help affected UK students https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/10124-basic-needs-and-persistence-fund. The UK also offers the Crisis Relief in Situations Involving Staff and Faculty (CRISIS) program to help UK employees facing personal difficulties. UK teachers and staff can ask for help from https://staffsenate.uky.edu/crisis.
Individuals can also send checks with a comment to support UK CAFE Tornado Relief to UK Philanthropy, PO Box 23552, Lexington, KY 40523.