Professional News

Knoth Receives UK Wheat Science Group Service Award

Bill Bruening (left) presents award to Laura Knoth. Photo by Steve Patton.

PRINCETON, Ky. (May 21, 2019)  The University of Kentucky Wheat Science Group recently honored Laura Knoth with its Service Award.

The group, comprising scientists from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, created the award to recognize individuals for their collaborations and contributions to UK wheat research.

As director of the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association, Knoth serves as the liaison between Kentucky wheat producers and UK scientists, whose research they help develop, execute and fund.

“This relationship and exchange of ideas between growers and researchers has led to high impact projects that more precisely address growers’ actual needs and concerns for both the present and the future,” said Bill Bruening, UK wheat research specialist. “The effectiveness and success of the UK Wheat Science Group is directly related to Laura's talent and ability to communicate the growers’ thoughts and ideas with wheat science researchers.”

Since the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association began, its members have donated more than $3.3 million in checkoff dollars to wheat research. More than $1 million of that total has been directed toward UK’s Grain and Forage Center of Excellence. Knoth has strongly pushed for funding for the Wheat Science Group’s research and educational outreach.

“She is a strong supporter of the land-grant system and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment,” said Lloyd Murdock, UK soils scientist. “Her commitment to the small-grain growers in Kentucky and the land-grant university is closely aligned with that of the late Don Halcomb, who was a tireless advocate for Kentucky producers and the Wheat Science Group.”

She has also challenged researchers to find innovative ways to meet the needs of Kentucky’s producers.

“Over the past 13 years that I have worked with Laura Knoth, I have always appreciated her inspiring attitude and professionalism,” said Ole Wendroth, UK professor of soil physics. “Laura truly has been stimulating researchers to be creative and to come up with innovative research ideas that help our growers but that also provide us scientists the opportunity to show that the work we are doing is relevant and publishable in top journals.”

Kentucky wheat production has increased 87 percent since the association began. Knoth credits much of this increase to the many research efforts of UK scientists.

“Of course, it’s the fine work of researchers like Dave Van Sanford and his wheat breeding, Lloyd Murdock with his fragipan work, Chad Lee and Carrie Knott with their grain crop production work and the many other specialists that work closely with the grain producers of Kentucky that has gotten us where we are,” she said.

Knoth is also executive director of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association and farms with her husband Mark Long in Livingston County.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for,”  and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.