Methodist Episcopal Church: Old Umtali Mission – Hartzell School of Agriculture

Methodist Episcopal Church

Old Umtali Mission – Hartzell School of Agriculture


The Old Umtali (Old Mutare) Mission has provided agricultural training from the beginning of its founding.  Mr. George A Roberts, a graduate of Ames Agricultural College, assumed responsibility for agriculture and animal husbandry beginning 1910.  The mission won a silver medal for the “most meritorious exhibit” at the Agricultural Fair held in Umtali (Mutare) that year.  Subjects taught during Mr. Robert’s tenure included the study of cattle diseases and breeding, “pig feeding, diseases and improvement,” gardening and soil testing, carrying for sick animals, use of fertilizers and “improvement of stock by breeding and selection.”

In 1936 Mr. H. E. Taylor, then in charge of the program, reported that “the dairy herd is one of the best to be seen in the country and is bringing in a cash income every month.”  He was also encouraged by the progress of the agricultural program’s work in soil conservation.

Mr. Kinyon, a graduate of the Wisconsin College of Agriculture, was in charge of agricultural training from 1950 to 1954.  For a brief period between 1951 and 1953 the program was known as the “Hartzell School of Agriculture.”  In 1953, “the boy’s agricultural classes were assigned to a proper school farm of 60 acres.”

By 1954, the program had changed its name to “Hartzell farm” – a year later to “Woodland farm.”  Subsequent reports simply refer to the agricultural program or department, which is still in operation.


  • A History of Christian Missions in Zimbabwe, 1890-1939 – C. J. M. Zvobgo
  • Reports of the Rhodesia Annual Conferences of the Methodist Church