• SSPF

Henry Carlisle Besuden | 1971

Renowned Southdown sheep breeder and award winning farmer for conservation practices and agricultural achievement.

1904-1985 | Artist: Jack K. Hodgkin (born 1936)



Impact & Accomplishments


Henry Besuden’s life took an unexpected turn when he was majoring in agriculture and playing basketball at the University of Kentucky: the Clark County farm he had inherited was served with a lien and the threat of sale, unless he could make it profitable quickly.


In desperation, he bought seventy Southdown sheep to eat down the weeds and fortify the soil, and eventually, he became a renowned breeder of purebred sheep. Between 1950 and 1971, Besuden won a record-breaking twelve grand championships in eighteen tries at the International Live Stock Exposition. He was president of the American Southdown Association, vice president of the International, trustee of the University of Kentucky, and member of the Kentucky Governor’s Commission on Agriculture.


Henry Besuden received the Green Pasture Award for conservation practices and the Golden Sheaf Award for agricultural achievement, and was named to the Saddle & Sirloin Club in 1971.


Did You Know?

After graduating from the old Clark County High School in 1923, Besuden attended the University of Kentucky, majoring in agriculture. He played center on UK's basketball team during the 1925-26 season. In 1965, Besuden became one of 30 athletes at that time to receive the Centennial Athletic Medallion.


President Reagan sent a telegram to Besuden when he was honored in 1984. "Through the years, you have played an important part in developing the agricultural resources of your area," the telegram said. "Your accomplishments in this field have improved the economic climate of you state and strengthened the farming system of your fellow citizens."

1925-26 University of Kentucky Basketball Squad

Front Row (l to r): James McFarland, Gayle Mohney, Burgess Carey, Paul Jenkins, Lovell Underwood Middle Row: Chuck "Speedy" Alberts, Henry Besuden, Arville Hickerson, Jay Wallace Back Row: Coach Eklund, Unidentified Player, Unidentified Player (Kittrell ?), C. Foster Helm







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