The American Forage and Grassland Council awarded Bob Hendershot, retired State Grassland Conservationist in Ohio for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the 2017 Distinguished Grasslander Award at its annual conference in Roanoke, Virginia.
The Distinguished Grasslander Award is presented to individuals who, during their careers, have served the forage and grassland segment of agriculture with distinction.
“My desire has been to help farmers conserve and improve their soil, water and plant resources. Forages and pastures are one of our most misunderstood, underutilized and abused land uses. I have been blessed to share knowledge and information on soils, plants, animals and water to help producers protect the environment, improve their families’ lifestyle and increase their income,” Hendershot said.
Hendershot is known throughout the grazing community. He has walked countless number of pasture fields and provided technical services to many farmers across Ohio and surrounding states. He has participated in hundreds of pasture walks and field days across Ohio. He has given presentations at numerous grazing conferences across the state and country.
Hendershot began his career with the Soil Conservation Service (later changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service) as a soil scientist mapping soils for the soil survey program in five different counties in Ohio. He was promoted to a Conservation Agronomist and he and his young family moved to Circleville, Ohio. He later was promoted to Resource Conservationist and finally promoted to State Grassland Conservationist in 1985. Bob presently lives on the same pasture farm, raising sheep and cattle that his family moved to 33 years ago. He and his late wife Connie have three grown children. After retiring from NRCS he started Green Pasture Services, a pasture consulting service that sells forage seed and temporary fencing materials.
Hendershot has received many honors including being named the nation’s Outstanding Pastureland Conservationist in 1999, inducted into the Ohio State Conservationist’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and was presented the NRCS Regional Grazing Lands Conservation award in 1996. He has been president of three state organizations: Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, the Ohio Association of Pedologist (soil scientists), and the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council. He received the American Sheep Industry Flock Guardian Award in 2006 for his work in grazing systems for sheep producers and was presented the 2010 Ohio Master Shepherd Award. He was one of the founders of the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council (OFGC) and still serves on the board of directors. He helped develop the Pasture for Profit grazing schools, the Forage for Horses and the Equine Environmental and Liability Awareness Programs. Hendershot has also been presented the OFGC Bob Evans Leadership Award for being a “champion” of forages. He is a past president and life member of the American Forage and Grassland Council and represents the organization on the National Grazing Lands Coalition Committee.