Building up the community

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Henderson Settlement, located in the Frakes community, began in 1925 and still continues to operate today. The settlement started with a school and blossomed outward over the years with farming and agriculture, work camp programs and outreach services.

Recently, the settlement has made strides to build up their farming and agricultural infrastructure to its former glory. With the help of UK Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Jacob Brandonburg, from the Bell County Cooperation Extension Service, Henderson Settlement will be implementing new practices to best farm cattle as well as establish a strong greenhouse system for growing vegetables. According to Brandonburg, the settlement was once an example to the area and Kentucky itself with its farming practices and educational opportunities for local farmers and growers.

“We’re going to try and implement something that will make them more profitable,” said Brandonburg.

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Working with the cattle has many facets. The first is lowering the calving intervals throughout the year to about 90 days. According to Brandonburg, this will make the cows more profitable because the settlement will be able to market the calves as a group instead of selling a few intermittently.

Brandonburg will also initiate health protocols for the settlement’s herd that will improve the overall health of the cattle. Then, the settlement won’t lose as many cows.

Another aspect that will be changing is how the cattle will be fed. Currently, the cows are simply fed a lot of hay. What Brandonburg will be executing is a rotational grazing pattern.

“We’re rotating cattle from field to field,” he said. This is meant to keep the grass healthy and at a uniform level so that the cycle of feeding can be continuous. This will help with regrowing plant mass and reduce hay cutting, erosion impacts that cattle can cause, and spreading manure so it’s not concentrated in one area.

“Overall, this is going to fix management of the herd. It’s going to make them more productive, healthier and make their land and the resource of their land more efficient,” said Brandonburg.

Another goal of Brandonburg is to establish a working facility at the settlement to help with the health of the cattle, tagging and even artificial insemination.