Richard Lehnert, who writes about tree fruit production as associate editor of Good Fruit Grower magazine, was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award from Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The award was presented March 10, during a luncheon at MSU.
Lehnert was cited for his nearly 52 years of informing farmers about scientific advancements made by agricultural scientists at the state’s land-grant university, thus “positively reflecting and enhancing the reputation of the college.”
He began writing about MSU’s scientific investigations, and scientist and extension educator advice to farmers, in 1963, while still a student at MSU. He joined the staff of Michigan Farmer in 1965 and stayed at the state farm magazine for 26 years, the last 15 as chief editor. He was a freelance agricultural writer from 1991 to 2004.
He also worked for two years as Michigan State University’s animal initiative information officer before turning to writing about specialty crops in 2004. He joined the staff of Good Fruit Grower in 2009.
In 1962, he worked as a horticultural lab assistant for MSU horticulturist Dr. John Bukovac, who nominated him for the award. Supporting letters were written by Phil Schwallier, MSU tree fruit educator; Phil Korson, head of the Michigan Cherry Institute; Geraldine Warner, editor of Good Fruit Grower; and Kirk Heinze, retired head of the agricultural communications program at MSU.
Lehnert lives on a small acreage near Trufant, Michigan, with his wife, Elaine. He is an avid gardener, has a small orchard, keeps a few sheep, and enjoys country life. He has three sons, who have six children.