Winter till the cows come home: University Farm plows through winter


Bill Kuntz, Truman State University Farm Manager, couldn’t be happier to see the bitter cold and merciless snow and ice of winter coming to an end. Kuntz is responsible for taking care of the farm grounds, crops and animals — a task made more difficult by inclement weather.

After working with Truman’s biology department for seven years, Kuntz applied for the manager position because of his love of the outdoors, doing anything and everything on the farm that needs to be finished.

Kuntz said the farm did pretty well preparing for the freeze. Starting last summer, the farm began baling hay to stockpile for animals and preventing water sources from freezing. By utilizing different tools like water heaters to keep the frost out, the farm can make sure the animals stay well cared for.

“The most difficult thing during winter is taking care of the animals,” Kuntz said. “We have to make sure they’re getting what they need.”

The ice was another difficult trial. Kuntz said the snow was harmless and easy to get rid of, but the ice was an issue because of the possibility of people and animals slipping. The safety of everyone is the farm’s No. 1 concern.

Overall, Kuntz said this winter has gone well, and he is hoping it’s long gone. With so many animals and a large amount of land to look over, Kuntz might not have had enough time to get it all done without Truman students like Danny Nadler working on the farm.

Nadler has been working on the farm since August 2017. Growing up on a farm north of Columbia, Missouri, Nadler has had plenty of experience working with his hands. His sister attended Truman and recommended he attend and work on the farm as well.

Being a part of the chore crew, Nadler’s responsibilities range from caring for livestock to cleaning and beyond. Even through the cold brush of winter, Nadler said he doesn’t have a favorite season while working on the farm. Winter can bring some negative conditions because of the snow and ice, but every season has its thorn.

“I think the farm is an incredible resource that Truman State [University] has,” Nadler said. “Several people are still unaware we even have a farm and what goes on here. Our farm-to-table program provides fresh vegetables to the dining halls during the growing season. I think every student should come to the farm at least once to just look around.”

There are many people on the farm making sure everything is well and taken care of, like equestrian show team coach Emily Costello, who helps with the farm’s horses and riding practice.

Costello began as a student at Truman 11 years ago and decided to work at the University when she noticed Truman needed a new equestrian team coach. Since working around horses and people was a passion of hers, applying for the position was the obvious choice.

Costello said this winter was hectic compared to previous ones because of its frequent storms. Costello said she had to cancel class because the conditions were too unsafe.

“I had to cancel class because it just wasn’t safe for anyone to be outside there,” Costello said. “It just wasn’t safe for students to be outside on the farm, for me it wasn’t safe, and it wasn’t safe for the horses to be working when it was so cold.”

Costello said the farm did an excellent job at preparing for the snow and ice with its heavy equipment. Costello said spring couldn’t get here any sooner, and she is looking forward to it finally warming up in the next few days.