Year Inducted: 

H. David HilliardH. David Hilliard was born on a farm in Clinton in 1916. During the Depression in 1934, Hilliard managed to get a job with the National Youth Administration (NYA) in Murray, custom hay baling on a farm for two summers. When he wasn’t able to get the job back the third summer, he hitchhiked to Lexington and enrolled at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, where he graduated in 1938.

Hilliard taught vocational agriculture for five years in London while completing graduate work. After his teaching stint, he returned to Hickman County and to the farm.  Throughout his life, Hilliard stressed the importance of the education and assistance he received from UK's College of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension.

During a 1985 interview for the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Hilliard noted that, “when you get out of college that is only the beginning of one’s education, and I think I’ve learned over the years that it’s a continuing process…. I owe an everlasting debt to the UK College of Agriculture for all the help I’ve received from them.”

Hilliard certainly has paid that debt off and more through his work and dedication to the college and agriculture. He was instrumental in ensuring that Kentucky farmers had access to quality, certified seed through the Kentucky Seed Improvement Association and worked to ensure the organization had the proper foundation under it through the college. He served three terms as president of the association in 1967, 1971 and 1975. He began growing certified seed on his farm in 1946 and certified seed is still a part of the Hilliard’s farming legacy.

Hilliard was an ardent supporter of Cooperative Extension and served on the Hickman County Extension Advisory Council. He also donated lambs for 4-H lamb projects. He always encouraged his fellow farmers to utilize extension to make themselves better farmers.

Hilliard was also a member of the Kentucky Farm Analysis Program, operated through college, joining it on the second year it became available to farmers his community. He considered the program as a good management tool for farmers and a guide to efficiency.

During his lifetime, Hilliard served farming and his community through participation in numerous organizations including the Jackson Purchase Production Credit Association board of directors; president of the Kentucky Federation of PCAs; Farm Credit Bank 4th District board of directors; Hickman County Farm Bureau board; Kentucky Soybean Association research allocation committee; Governor’s Commission on Agriculture and the College of Agriculture dean’s advisory committee on agronomy.

He was a life member of the UK Agricultural Alumni Association and the UK Alumni Association. Hilliard was the recipient of the 1979 Distinguished Ag Alumnus Award and the 1982 Thomas Poe Cooper Award. He also served as a Sunday School teacher in his local church for 30 years.

Hilliard died in 1996.