Throughout his career Bill Hueg has played a major role in bringing together producers, academics, agribusiness and elected officials for the common goal of growing the agricultural industry and erasing hunger through food and fiber production in the United States and the world.
Hueg is a unique person and a visionary with uncommon insights, energy, focus and determination. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in agriculture from the moment he planted his first packet of garden seeds while a young boy in grade school. After his graduation with a degree in Dairy Husbandry and Extension Education from Cornell’s College of Agriculture, he served as the assistant county agricultural agent for two years while teaching soils and farms crops at the State University of New York’s Agricultural and Technical Institute in Alfred. In addition, he managed the Institute’s 1,000-acre farm for five years. Next he went to Michigan State University where he met his adviser and long-time mentor, Dr. Carter Harrison, and earned a Masters in Agronomy, and a Ph.D. in Agronomy and Agricultural Economics.
In 1957 Hueg was hired as Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in Agronomy at the University of Minnesota. Here, he gained prominence as an outstanding teacher, extension agronomist, and author/co-author of nearly 100 scientific articles and brochures. He was a tireless advocate of interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists, and facilitated collaboration between scientists and farmers. He developed and led a total systems approach to research which soon won over producers and industry representatives.
In 1974 Hueg was appointed Professor and Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the University’s Institute of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics. Over the next ten years, his remarkable leadership, enthusiasm, and determination brought in even more funding, as well as the best researchers, scholars, teachers, and students to the University of Minnesota. His innate sense of timing and his ability to bring together people from all aspects of food and agriculture to focus on solutions, positioned the University to play a leading role in addressing agricultural challenges at all levels that continues even to this day.