UGA Cooperative Extension forages specialist Dennis Hancock was one of two UGA Extension faculty members honored his month with Walter Barnard Hill Awards in recognition of their public outreach.

Dennis Hancock, UGA associate professor of crop and soil sciences and Extension forage specialist, recently won UGA's Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach. Each year, he conducts many workshops and field days to help farmers reduce their bottom lines by increasing the health of their pastures.

Hancock, Extension forages specialist and associate professor of crop and soil sciences, received a 2017 Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach (Hill Award) at UGA’s Public Service Outreach Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 17.

The Hill Award recognizes UGA faculty members and service professionals who made contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere to a degree that greatly exceeds the normal accomplishments of a productive faculty member. It’s one of the highest service awards given by the University of Georgia.

The Hill Award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led the university from 1899 until his death in 1905. Hill was the first to articulate the university’s modern public service and outreach mission.

Melanie Biersmith, Georgia 4-H environmental education coordinator, also took home a Hill Award this year.

Helping farmers find greener pastures

With his trademark beard and trusty “grazing stick,” Hancock has been preaching better pasture health to livestock farmers in Georgia since 2006.

He works closely with UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources county agents across the state to host multiple forage field days and sustainable grazing workshops each year.

From Georgia Grazing School to GrassMasters trainings, Hancock has worked to make sure that farmers have the information they need to reduce their costs and their workloads while protecting the health of their livestock and the environment.

With the rest of the UGA Extension Forage Team, Hancock helps to produce the UGA Forage Team’s blog, which presents the most up-to-date forage information to the public.

He also leads the Sustainable Grazing Systems Program. Through the program, Hancock and colleagues research and assess the best management practices for pasture and grassland crop systems.

Hancock's goal is to ensure that Georgia and the Southeast's forage management systems sustain economically viable forage productivity, animal nutrition and livestock productivity while enhancing stewardship of our natural resources and improving quality of life for producers employing these techniques.

For more information about the ways that UGA Extension is working to improve the lives of Georgians, visit