Missouri

An unexpected increase of $30,000 per year in operating funds has been received by the Hugo Wurdack Farm at Cook Station, MO. The farm is part of the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station.

"The money will enhance both the research and extension educational activities at the farm for residents of the area," said Michael Chippendale, interim associate dean of research at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The money comes from the remainder of a trust set up by Hugo Wurdack, a manufacturing executive from St. Louis who died in 1963. The trust had provided income for Wurdack heirs. The money was transferred to the University upon the death of the last heir in the trust.

In 1961, Wurdack donated a 1,200-acre farm in southern Crawford County to the University for research and education in agriculture and natural resources. The Wurdack family used the farm, then called Cresthaven, as an Ozark retreat on the Meramec River. The Wurdacks retained a life interest in the farm and continued to use a house located there.

Wurdack died in 1963 at the age of 93 at his residence on Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis.

Money from the disbursement of the trust will be used to enhance MU scholarship funds and operation of the farm.

In addition to the farm, Wurdack left an endowment to the University that provided $201,000 this year to support more than 200 scholarships for agriculture and natural resources students in the College.

In the deed of transfer, Wurdack stipulated that income from the farm, which now includes cattle and timber sales, would go to support research and educational work at the farm.

Research at the Wurdack Farm is now primarily on beef-and-forage farming, an important part of Ozark agriculture. Two field days--one for farmers and another for area high school students--are held each September. Dozens of special tours for small groups are also held each year, said Wayne Bailey, MU professor of entomology who is farm director.

Most of the Wurdack farm is in timber, with open pastureland in the bottomland along the river. The farm is located about half way between Steelville and Salem, Mo.

Results of research in timber management, soil fertility, entomology, forages, and beef cattle are used by regional extension specialists. With additional funding, other research is being considered, Chippendale said. That includes more research in horticulture, including athletic turf and fruit production by gardeners.

"I would like to see studies of winter stockpiling of forages and of new varieties of tall fescue."

Research on timber management can also be increased, he said. Natural resource studies could include wildlife plantings, native grasses and prairie forbs.

An advisory committee made up of area producers will guide decisions on new research.

In addition to the Ozark location, MU has research centers in all corners of the state and near Columbia.

Wurdack established the first street lighting plant in St. Louis in 1888. He also developed power utilities for many small towns, before selling out in a consolidation in 1923. He was board chairman of Automatic Firing Corporation, a heating and air conditioning firm, for many years.

Wurdack was involved in education, serving on the St. Louis Board of Education during the 1940s, and in teaching Sunday school classes. Elmer Kiehl, of Columbia, a former dean of the MU College of Agriculture, recalled that Wurdack taught Sunday school until the last Sunday before his death.

Visits to the farm can be arranged by contacting Brent Booker, Cook Station, manager of Wurdack Farm.

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