The Agriculture Program's Final Days

by Phil Gregory '64


Thom Votaw '64 and I were the last two students in the academic agriculture program to graduate from JBU. We were in the class of 1964, freshmen in the 1960-1961 school year.

Rodman Stout taught the agriculture classes. JBU even had a registered Jersey Dairy Herd. There were 30 cows and two breeding bulls. The cows were milked with milking machines, strained, cooled overnight and delivered to the cafeteria in the basement of the California Dorm in the morning. It was raw, rich, milk with about 8+% butterfat content. The milk was skimmed down to about 4%, and Billie Holliday and her cafeteria staff would make butter and/or whipped cream out of the cream. Green King was the supervisor of the dairy.

Ron Snyder '61, a senior and mentor not only in agriculture program but also in the Bible and religion ministries on campus, was the student supervisor and main milker. He and Bill Smallman had organized and led the street ministries, jail ministries and rest home ministries. During the fall, we showed the dairy herd in the Benton County Fair in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Snyder reminisced that he would get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows and go directly to his 7 a.m. German class, sitting in the back because he smelled like the barn and dairy cows.

Up until 1961, the barn was located where the Health Complex is located now. The fields surrounded the barn, and bordered on the east and north by the Sager Creek were hay and grain for the dairy herd. The gymnasium and swimming pool were located in the valley below the 100 steps leading up to the California Dorm.

Stout and Joe Smith, director of vocational training, told stories of how the school and students survived the Great Depression. For example, students and faculty would travel as far as Texas to glean vegetables, fruit and grains then bring the food back to campus to can, dry and preserve to last through the fall and spring semesters. This made us appreciate our easy life on campus over 55 years ago.

Unfortunately for us, Stout passed away in the summer of 1961. The dairy herd was sold; the academic agriculture program was dropped; and Votaw and I changed our minors.