Lincoln, Neb. —The 2022 Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award was presented to Chris Cullan of Hemingford during his Customer Appreciation Day, which he hosts each year for his wheat seed company.
Cullan is the 4th generation to be on the farm where he and his family raise sunflowers, dry beans, corn, sugar beets and wheat. Cullan owns and operates a wheat seed company where he works closely with Husker Genetics to sell wheat varieties that are developed and made available for wheat growers in the Panhandle.
“I was certainly surprised when I was presented the award,” said Cullan. “I accepted this on behalf of our team and family. Without our group, we would not be able to do what we have done.”
The Cullan family has been a strong supporter of Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for many years. For the past 30 years, Cullan and his family host a Customer Appreciation Day, which his grandfather and Dr. Charlie Fenster, former UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist, initiated. During this event many UNL Panhandle Research & Extension Center (PREC) Specialists and Educators have presented crop and entomology research to producers through the years.
“We as producers reach out to extension personnel when we have a problem,” said Cullan. “Our goal is to use this event to help growers make their operations better perhaps through prevention or by making their crop outcomes better without having a problem. We certainly hope they can take something home to help their bottom line.”
Through the years, Cullan has created a strong relationship with the UNL PREC Specialists and Educators by partnering with UNL on a variety of projects and on-farm studies and surveys. A portion of his acres are used as a wheat variety testing site for new wheat varieties, cultivars and lines.
“Chris has been a fantastic on-farm collaborator and advisor to my entomological research. In turn, he values the results that we produce and cares about seeing how our research can best help producers in the region,” said Jeff Bradshaw, UNL PREC Entomologist. “Chris has been very generous in letting us onto his production fields of wheat and sunflowers to aid in graduate student research projects. As a result, our studies that my students have published concerning wheat or sunflower insect management are very well grounded in actual production-scale solutions to some very challenging insect management issues.”
The Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture award recognizes someone who provides outstanding service to agriculture in western Nebraska. The award criteria includes value of work done or cooperation with UNL specialists and educators; leadership in agriculture; community service other than agriculture; and level of impact on Panhandle agriculture.