Interview with Ernest N. Fergus, August 14, 1984

Project: University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Ernest Newton Fergus was born south of Sydney, Ohio, in Shelby County, on March 19, 1892. He went to the Miami University of Ohio for one summer, taught school for a couple of years and then enrolled at Ohio State in 1912, and received his B. S. degree in Agriculture, with an emphasis in Chemistry, in 1916. He performed graduate and laboratory work in chemistry for two years, and received his Master's degree in Soil Chemistry in 1918. Fergus worked at the Purdue University Experiment Station in Soil Research and was also employed at the same time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform red clover (forage) failure research. He came to the University of Kentucky to continue this research for the USDA, and worked in various positions for the Agronomy Department from 1920 to until his retirement in 1966. Fergus discusses his research with forage crops such as fescue, timothy, and bluegrass. He talks about the research work done at U.K. to develop the Kenland variety of red clover, and mentions several co-workers who helped him with this project as well as others, particularly Dr. W. Valleau. Fergus was also involved with pasture research at the Princeton Substation near Princeton, Kentucky. Research work with pasture and forage from both facilities grew into the Green Pasture Program.

Fergus was appointed chairman of a committee by Dr. Frank L. McVey, to develop research programs in other departments that would augment their teaching efforts. He states that McVey wanted U.K. to have a plan similar to other colleges, such as the University of Wisconsin, which would include other research programs besides agriculture. This committee, originally named the Committee for Graduate Work and Staff Research, was in place for several years, although it was disbanded during World War II. The group resumed its work after the war, during Dr. Herman L. Donovan's tenure. Donovan also saw the need for an independent organization, separate from the state, to handle appropriations of research funds from industry and other sources. The University of Kentucky Research Foundation was eventually formed from this committee. The interviewer states that Fergus "is considered to be a pioneer in the field of agriculture".

Interview Accession

1984oh079_af149

Interviewee Name

Ernest N. Fergus

Interviewer Name

Mike Duff

Interview Date

1984-08-14

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Restriction

No Restrictions

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Add this interview to your cart in order to begin the process of requesting access to a copy of and/or permission to reproduce interview(s). 


Fergus, Ernest N. Interview by Mike Duff. 14 Aug. 1984. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Fergus, E.N. (1984, August 14). Interview by M. Duff. University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Fergus, Ernest N., interview by Mike Duff. August 14, 1984, University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7hmg7ftr08