Charles Fenster Receives Panhandle Outstanding Service to Ag Award

Charles Fenster Receives Panhandle Outstanding Service to Ag Award

August 15, 2008

Charles Fenster of Gering has been named the 2008 winner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award. A pioneering ag researcher, Fenster retired nearly 30 years ago from the University of Nebraska but has remained active in Nebraska agriculture.

Charlie Fenster
Charlie Fenster is the 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture award from the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center.
Fenster was recognized August 12 during the High Plains Ag Lab Summer Crops Field Day at Sidney.

According to the award nomination, Fenster "is an icon of agriculture in the Nebraska Panhandle."

During a long and successful career with the University of Nebraska, he became nationally and internationally known for his work with conservation tillage systems. His work on conservation tillage and ecofallow is fundamental to the environmentally sound cultural practices used in dryland farming today.

Fenster and his wife, Eunice, live in Gering and he holds the title of professor emeritus. When Fenster retired from university employment in 1980, he volunteered to help the University of Nebraska Foundation and the University of Nebraska Alumni Association.

When the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association could not find qualified inspectors for western Nebraska, he was there to "satisfy the need," according to his nomination. He worked for NCIA for 12 years inspecting wheat, millet, grasses, dry beans and other crops. He also represented NCIA at grower meetings in the Panhandle.

He has successfully nominated a number of Panhandle residents for membership in the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement and still attends and actively participates in UNL programming.

"Charlie and his wife Eunice have generously funded a number of programs for the Panhandle District," said District Director Linda Boeckner. "They established the first endowed professorship for an off-campus site. They have also been major contributors to the Panhandle Dryland Crops Fund, the Panhandle Alumni Scholarship Fund, the Fenster Fund for Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Panhandle Research and Extension Center Director's Discretionary Fund. It is hard to think of anyone who has done more for Panhandle agriculture over a lifetime than Charlie Fenster."

Fenster regularly tells the story of agriculture in the Panhandle to widespread and diverse audiences. He speaks to Nebraska LEAD groups about the history of agriculture in the Panhandle and has been involved in the Farm and Ranch Museum in Gering since its inception, developing a major display on the development of conservation tillage in the High Plains.

An active community member, he belongs to the Kiwanis Club and has been chair of the Gering Parks, Cemetery and Tree Board for many years.