Interview with William H. Balden, June 6, 1985
Project: University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project
Interview SummaryWilliam H. "Bill" Balden was born in Mercer County, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky on October 13, 1921. He went to elementary schools in Mercer County and graduated from Harrodsburg High School in1939. Balden attended the University of Kentucky for two years prior to World War II, then enlisted in the Naval Air Corps in 1942. He describes his experiences as a carrier pilot during his four years in the Navy, says he returned to U.K. after the war, and earned a B.S. in Business Administration. He worked five years for Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company as a manager in Louisville, Frankfort, Chattanooga, and Memphis, moving each year.
Balden came back to his father-in-law's family farm in 1953, where he began working with U.K.'s College of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services through County Agent John Brown in Boyle County. He decided to make the farm available for experimental variety programs, such as sheep and certified seed and tobacco, which provided him the opportunity to meet many personnel from extension at the ground level. He was President of the Boyle County Farm Bureau, served for twenty-five years on Boyle County's Extension Council and was Chairman of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Tobacco Committee. Balden mentions the politics of Kentucky agriculture, and says the tobacco program was the most controversial in terms of the political, social, and economic aspects, especially the tobacco baling issue. Balden emphasizes that farmers need people outside of Extension to work for them and gives credit to Governors Louie B. Nunn (Republican) and Wendell H. Ford (Democrat) for working together to get the Seed Stock building at Spindletop Farm. He discusses the benefits to farmers as a result of the return to the County Agent system from the Area system, and the importance of regular educational meetings for farmers in each county.
Balden came back to serve the State Farm Bureau as chairman of various committees and in elected positions. He discusses the work of the Farm Bureau committees and their methods of developing policy starting at the county level as well as their input at state and national level. Balden notes he was later voted out as director over the tobacco baling issue, but became a member of the Burley Farmers Advisory Council. He talks about his family and his many appointments and awards are mentioned.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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.
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Balden, William H. Interview by Mike Duff. 06 Jun. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Balden, W.H. (1985, June 06). Interview by M. Duff. University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Balden, William H., interview by Mike Duff. June 06, 1985, University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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