February 26, 2003

A University of Kentucky agronomist and 17-year Cooperative Extension Service veteran has been named Assistant Extension Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Jimmy Henning, a UK forage specialist and College of Agriculture faculty member since 1989, will help direct statewide programs conducted at the local level by UK’s 100-plus county Extension agents for agriculture and natural resources.

The Georgia native, who earned his Ph.D. from UK in 1986, said he is looking forward to the opportunity to help UK serve the needs of Kentucky’s farmers.

“The opportunities are almost limitless, especially as UK has made efforts to extend the whole university to the counties via the local Extension office,” Henning said. “We are challenged to take traditional agriculture to new levels of efficiency and productivity while also being environmentally sound, and to maintain and enhance Kentucky’s rich natural resource base.”

Henning said Cooperative Extension also is challenged to think non-traditionally toward alternative agricultural enterprises, and sees his new position as one that must help keep communication lines open between local producers and agents and UK research and Extension staff.

“Agents are the place where the programmatic ‘buck’ stops, and it’s important to make sure the needs of the counties get heard at the campus level,” he said.

Kentucky’s agriculture and natural resource systems are considered by many of the state’s leaders to be at a critical juncture. Challenges to tobacco, increasing reliance on beef and forage systems, value-added enterprise development and environmental issues all point to the need for sound, research-based education and outreach efforts.

“Dr. Henning’s knowledge base, experience, dedication to Extension and leadership capability will complement our administrative team very well as we work together with all staff and faculty to address these vitally important agriculture and natural resources issues,” said Larry Turner, Associate Dean and Director of UK’s Cooperative Extension Service.

Henning joined UK Cooperative Extension after serving four years as a forage specialist with the University of Missouri.  He has served as secretary of the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council since 1993, and is past president of the American Forage and Grassland Council.  In 1997 he was named Outstanding Kentucky Extension Specialist.

He currently serves as senior faculty coordinator for UK’s Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome pasture monitoring plan.  He begins his new duties March 1.