by Bekah Kopp
Eagle Farms, a large component of the new Williams Works initiative at Williams Baptist University, has found its leader: Brad Flippo. Flippo, a Lawrence County native with extensive experience in local business and agriculture, began work as WBU’s farm manager in September.
Flippo was a member of the group that helped Williams develop its work initiative, and he said the excitement he encountered in that effort gave him the desire to be a part of WBU and Williams Works.
“Dr. Brett Cooper asked me to be a part of a task force to develop the farm plan, where I listened to Dr. Stan Norman, our president, share his vision for Williams Works. Each time we would get together and discuss the vision I would tell my wife, who also works at WBU, that there’s an excitement about this place that is special. After a long and great, full career with Greenway Equipment, I knew it was time to serve at WBU,” Flippo said.
Eagle Farms will offer a selection of fruits and vegetables, as well as pecans from the 125 trees on campus. During the winter, students and staff will explore the use of hydroponics for indoor growing. “The farm will start out as a fresh produce operation on about 10 acres of ground, located on the west end of the WBU campus, and it will expand in future years,” Flippo said.
Flippo noted that WBU plans to develop a farmers market near campus to sell the farm’s products. In addition, Williams is considering Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships, in which customers can receive weekly parcels of fresh fruits and vegetables for a subscription fee.
“Students can work 16 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters, and their cost of education, which is tuition and fees, will be covered. Students will also have opportunities to work in the summer to cover their room and board, so students selected for the Williams Works program have a great opportunity to graduate debt free,” Flippo said.
“WBU believes that work should be a part of the educational process, teaching life skills and a Christian ethic of work.”
The new farm manager said he believes he has been given the gift and knowledge of farming so that he may serve at WBU. He quoted 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Eagle Farms will begin to take shape in the coming months, Flippo said, and students will begin working on the farm in the fall of 2020.
“Brad Flippo is the ideal fit to lead Eagle Farms. He has a great background in both business and agriculture,and he has a passion for this initiative. On top of that, he shares WBU’s commitment to transform lives through Christ-centered higher education. We are delighted to have him at Williams,” said Brett Cooper, vice president for creative services & technology, who is coordinating the early stages of Williams Works.
One major bonus for Flippo is that he gets to work with his wife, Angela Flippo, WBU’s vice president for enrollment management. He noted, “Who knew I would be working with my wife at WBU, which is where I met her 30 years ago!”
Eagle Farms is a major facet of the Williams Works initiative, which WBU unveiled recently. More information on Williams Works is available at this link.
WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.