February 9, 2022 | By: Katie Pratt

Fulton County grain farmer Henry Sanger is the 2022 recipient of the University of Kentucky Wheat Science Group’s Service Award.  

Group members give the award to honor producers and industry representatives for their valuable research collaborations and support.  

“Henry has always been a very thoughtful and perceptive evaluator of research carried out by the Wheat Science Group,” said David Van Sanford, professor of wheat breeding and genetics in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “He asks hard questions that always make us better at what we do and sometimes alerts us to issues that we hadn’t even considered.” 

Henry Sanger hosted a UK Wheat Field Day on his farm in 2000. Photo courtesy of Lloyd Murdock and Dottie Call.

UK agronomist Jim Herbek gives a presentation to producers attending UK Wheat Field Day in 2000 on Henry Sanger's farm. Photo courtesy of Lloyd Murdock and Dottie Call.

Sanger farms Mississippi River bottomland
in Fulton County, which has very different growing conditions from the rest of the state. He was an early adopter of many of the group’s contributions to Kentucky small grain production, including no-till wheat.
In the early years of UK-developed Pembroke wheat seed, Sanger promoted the seed to Purchase Area farmers and worked with local seed houses to make sure they carried the seed. 

“Henry believes in the betterment of Kentucky agriculture,” said Lloyd Murdock, UK professor emeritus. “He has been an excellent cooperator on many UK research and variety trials over the years.” 

Adam Andrews, programs director of the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association and the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, said Sanger is instrumental in making sure Purchase Area farmers are represented statewide and their unique challenges are addressed. 

“He has always challenged leaders of the Kentucky corn and wheat industries to meet the production and research needs of the farmers in the Purchase Region, who farm in different environmental conditions and on different soil types than farmers in other parts of the state,” he said. “The Kentucky wheat industry is better because Henry is a part of it.” 

Henry Sanger, front row far left, attends a past year's Winter Wheat Meeting. Photo courtesy of Lloyd Murdock and Dottie Call.

has hosted on-farm variety trials for the UK Wheat Variety Testing Program for the past four years and from 1997-2001. 

“The results from this project are essential for us to be able to provide variety performance data for the Purchase Area,” said Bill Bruening, UK agriculture research specialist. “He and his team are remarkably accommodating to our research needs and provide excellent management of the research plots.”  

Despite his far Western Kentucky location, he has a strong desire to make the state’s agriculture better. He has been a member of many agriculture boards and was an early member of the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association.  

“His willingness to travel, contribute and work to make small grains strong in Kentucky is amazing,” said Chad Lee, director of the UK Grain and Forage Center of Excellence. “I greatly enjoy my visits with Henry. He always has challenging questions and offers one of the best field scouting opportunities anywhere.” 

Sanger received the award during the UK Wheat Science Group’s annual Winter Wheat Meeting. 


Bill Bruening, bill.bruening@uky.edu

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