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Environmental studies students attend Dinner with Strangers dinner hosted by the Kable family

Pictured (l. to r.) are Bob Hughes and Shepherd alumna Bev Hughes ’71, dinner guests; environmental studies majors Karlie Murray, Lumberport; Jennifer Willett, Boonsboro, Maryland; Trevor Maclosky, Bluemont, Virginia; Connor Feehan, Haymarket, Virginia; Amanda Harmon, Martinsburg; and Carol Kable and Marty Kable, dinner hosts and owners of High Horizons Farm.

Five environmental studies students had the opportunity to share a meal with Jefferson County farmers Carol and Marty Kable and their guests, Shepherd alumna Bev Hughes and her husband Bob of Shepherdstown, during a recent Dinner with Strangers. The students were given a tour of High Horizon Farm, which is owned and operated by Marty Kable and sons, Tyree and Mark.

Corn, soybeans, wheat, and beef cattle are the main crops raised on the farm today. The grain and cattle operations were started when the Kables sold their dairy cattle in 1986. The main driving force for the expansion was when their two sons joined the operation. The tour started at the farm office, where the importance of accurate and complete records was emphasized and the use of the large scales for weighing the commodities and all trucks that are hauling the agriculture products to market was explained. The group also toured the grain handling and drying system and some of the field machinery.

“The highlight of the day seemed to be the students and guests riding on the combines and tractors and receiving explanations of the how the machines are operated today with computers that give expert information about the yields,” Carol Kable said. “Having these computers in the various planting, spraying, and harvesting equipment is all a part of precision agriculture. Through this process, exact planting populations, growth monitoring, and yield data are obtained with field mapping technology.

“We then gathered at our home, Rosemont, for dinner and time of fellowship and friendship,” she added. “A wide variety of subjects were discussed, including the hopes and dreams of Tabler Farm playing a major role in the agricultural studies of Shepherd University. The students made positive comments concerning the interest and compassion of their professors.”

The students who participated were Amanda Harmon, Martinsburg; Karlie Murray, Lumberport; Jennifer Willett, Boonsboro, Maryland; Trevor Maclosky, Bluemont, Virginia; and Connor Feehan, Haymarket, Virginia

“They have a wonderful home and both couples were very charming and sweet,” Maclosky said. “The farm tour was very interesting and informative and the scale and efficiency achieved in their operation is quite impressive. The most interesting thing I learned was the importance of drying the various grains and the method that was used. Also, the smell of the drying process was very surprising to me. The whole vicinity smelled like popcorn. Overall, a very enlightening experience that will benefit and influence me in my future career choice.”

“I was grateful for the opportunity, the delicious dinner, and a chance to connect with students and the greater community outside of the classroom,” Willett said. “I have a deeper appreciation for the unseen forces supporting us through the educational process from members of the community that are invested in the success of Shepherd students. It inspired me to reflect on that support and how I might show up in my community through the different chapters of my life. I hope and intend to be able to be a support system and give back to students one day as it is an admirable and necessary component of a healthy society, I believe. The attendees at Dinner with Strangers were very sincere and generous and I appreciate that they took the time to dedicate an evening to local students.”

“Dinner with Strangers was a once in a lifetime experience for me,” Harmon said. “With school being so busy, and life in general, it was a nice change of pace. I enjoyed touring the farm and meeting everyone who I can now call my friends. I learned so much about how farming technology has changed over the years and how the Kables have adapted with it. That was my favorite part of this experience.”

“The Kable family enjoyed the opportunity to host a group of Dinner with Strangers and felt the experience was beneficial for all,” Carol Kable said.