Hugh Pence is known as an outstanding professional farm manager, and he has made significant contributions to the agricultural industry as well as to the development of people. In all facets of Pence’s work his passion for agriculture – and things growing – has been equally yoked with his passion to grow people.
Pence has deep roots in agriculture. His father, M. O. Pence, was a professor of agronomy from the 1920’s to 1957 who received the Purdue Ag Alumni Association’s Certificate of Distinction in 1958, making Hugh one of only a very few second-generation recipients of the award.
After receiving his B. S. in General Agriculture from Purdue University in 1954, Pence served two years in the Army Corps of Engineers and then returned to Purdue and obtained his M. S. degree in Agronomy. In 1958 he began what would become a life-long career with Halderman Farm Management Service, Inc., working at first from the main office in Wabash. Within a short time he was moved to Lafayette to develop an area as Halderman’s area representative in west central Indiana, he position he still holds 41 years later. Pence’s excellent service to farm owners grew his business to a very full load of farm management. Over the years, he has transferred farms he was managing to three other Halderman representatives, both to help lighten his own management load and to help establish new area representatives with the Halderman Companies.
As a result of Pence’s efforts and his extensive agronomic and forestry experience, thousands of acres are more productive and better preserved. Pence is a certified crop advisor, and says Robert Halderman, “”Agronomically, there is not a better manager of the soil . . . and I would rate him as one of Indiana’s best timber managers as well.”
Pence also owns several grain farms and woods. His most unique farm is his 180 acre walnut plantation near Lafayette. The plantation is planted in an innovative “agroforestry” configuration with grain crops growing between the rows of the 44,000 walnut trees.
His love for trees is evident in his service to the Walnut Council where Pence served on the board and was the national president in 1998 and was secretary-treasurer of the Indiana Chapter. Pence is a member of the Indiana, American and International Societies of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, serving as president of the Indiana chapter in 1980. Pence has served as president and is a 35-year member of the Lafayette Lions Club, and he has been on the Theta Chi Alumni board serving as treasurer since 1963. His other professional memberships include the Indiana Nut Growers Association and the Indiana Woodland Owners Association.
In recognition of Pence's’ excellent service to his clients and to the Halderman Companies, he was awarded the H. H. Halderman Innovative Effort Award in 1992 by Halderman Farm Management Service, Inc.