Year Inducted: 

Randall BarnettRandall Barnett served in many capacities during his tenure with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, starting as an assistant 4-H agent and rising through the ranks to finish his career as associate dean.

During his long, successful career he had many accomplishments. One of his most lasting legacies are the leaders in today’s agriculture who honed their skills through the leadership program he founded and directed for many years. Originally, the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Program, the program has been renamed the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program. The 10th class is about to complete the 18-month program.

His work in the Cooperative Extension Service as assistant director for field operations also was noteworthy, in that many of the plans and ideas he proposed and promoted have become the bedrock of extension today. He provided the leadership to garner support for establishing and expanding extension tax districts. The local tax is used by county extension offices to provide new facilities and expand programs.

Barnett was instrumental in creating and promoting the extension advisory council system that is used in Kentucky and beyond. An award for outstanding extension councils is named in his honor. Additionally, Barnett was among the leaders who set up the first National Extension Advisory Committee, which later evolved into the National Committee on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching.

During his tenure as associate dean, he provided the core leadership in bringing together farm organizations, commodity groups, agricultural businesses and educators to develop the Ag 2000 Project, a plan focused on diversifying and expanding the state’s agricultural economy. That effort was later refined and led to the formation of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.

It was also during his time as associate dean that Barnett served as the primary liaison with elected officials, communicating the needs and opportunities critical to the college. In this role, he organized stakeholders and established strong connections that led to obtaining support for almost $60 million invested in regulatory services, agricultural engineering, diagnostic laboratory and animal research center facilities.

Barnett received his Bachelor of Science degree in dairy production from UK in 1957, a master’s in extension education from UK in 1964 and his doctorate from North Carolina State University in adult education and administration. He has taught and conducted workshops internationally and held regional and national committee posts throughout his professional life.

In his community, he has been active as well, as a church elder and Sunday school teacher, board member and chairman of the Christian Student Fellowship at UK, and one of the organizers of what is today Lexington Christian Academy.

He has received numerous awards beginning when he was a college student and a member of the 1956 National Champion Dairy Judging Team to today’s induction into the college’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.