The Agriculture program in the School of Natural Sciences operates two university farms. Prussing Farm, located on the outskirts of Warrensburg on East Division Road, encompasses 260 acres. In town, off Mitchell Street, is a 110 acre farm. Both sites are utilized for experiential, hands-on teaching and research in the areas of agronomy, horticulture and animal science.
Benefactor Natalie (Prussing) Halpin, 2020
Horses in front of Prussing mule barn, 1927
Harvesting hay at Prussing mule barn, 1916
In 1868 Ferdinand Prussing bought 100 acres of pastureland five miles east of Warrensburg,
Missouri, with the intent of starting a cattle ranch. But when his son, George Prussing,
took over his late father’s property, adding 160 more acres, he soon began to focus
instead on mules.
George constructed a mule barn in 1902 and handpicked matching pairs of mules around 2 years of age, training them to pull as teams to haul, plow, plant, mow and harvest. He sold the mules to farmers in several counties, and when World War I broke out, sold many to the U.S. government for use by soldiers like his son, Max Prussing, who needed to haul cannons and heavy artillery through muddy trenches.
George’s granddaughter, Natalie (Prussing) Halpin, donated the family farm to UCM in 2002. Today the university’s official mule riders groom the animals at the barn before taking them to events like the Missouri State Fair or UCM’s homecoming parade. One of UCM’s popular mottos is “Mule Strong.”
"It's no wonder the mule is Missouri's state animal and the University of Central
Missouri's mascot," says Gabriele Leighow, one of UCM's official mule riders for the 2020-2021 academic
"I'm a Missouri girl, and we're pretty stubborn and have our own ideas about what we want to do," Gabriele says. "But if you convince us, then you have a lifelong friend. ... You can tell a horse, but you have to convince a mule."