, | Certificate of Distinction: 1958
Raised on a Grant County, Indiana, farm, where he worked three years after high school to earn the money to attend Purdue, Agronomy Legend Melville “M.O.” Pence never strayed far from his agricultural roots. In fact, he regularly returned to farms all around the state, riding the rails on the Purdue Soil Testing Special, dubbed the Extension Train. Analyzing soils brought to the train, he offered recommendations on lime, fertilizer and crop rotation. He oversaw the Five-acre Corn Club, which grew from 500 in 1925 to more than 4,000 members in 1956. He was the first to demonstrate the Purdue Soil Test Kit on the farm in 1934. He also promoted alfalfa as a forage crop, introduced Korean lespedeza and Ladino clover and gave demonstrations on pasture improvement through fertilization and renovation. He also was involved in improving small grains, soybeans, sorghum and sudan grass, which led to dramatically increased yields.