William Stewart was a Colorado boy born in the San Luis Valley in 1914. He graduated from high school in Pueblo and from the Colorado Agricultural College in 1943. He first served as a County Extension in Washington and Montrose Counties. He emphasized mountain meadow fertility and crops testing. He also was successfully involved with fairs and seed shows.
In 1951 Bill moved to Fort Collins as Assistant State Extension Agronomist and Manager of the Certified Seed Program. He became Manager of the Colorado Pure Seed Show, and was heavily involved with the Colorado State Fair. In 1959, Stewart became Extension
Agronomy Coordinator. He initiated projects with companies and organizations involved with Colorado agriculture including the Tennessee Valley Authority on soil fertility, the Great Western Sugar Company, The Colorado Mill and Elevator Company, the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, among others.
He became heavily involved with the milling and baking quality of wheat. He obtained data on these qualities for Colorado wheats. This led to determination for the need of a more focused wheat research program at CSU. The need was met when the Department hired Dr. Byrd Curtis from Oklahoma State as the wheat research leader in 1963. This humble beginning led to the development of the current extensive wheat research program today some 46 years later.
Bill Stewart, working cooperatively with others, also initiated an extensive program to determine the feasibility of producing soft white wheat in Colorado to be used in making pastries, cookies, and crackers. It was determined that these wheats could be irrigated and produce good yields of high-quality wheat in the San Luis Valley and elsewhere.
Mr. Stewart and others developed successful programs for the production, storage, and shipment of wheat to Denver for milling and baking. It became feasible for bakeries to expand their production. This is just one of many programs that Bill Stewart initiated and developed during his tenure. He was “Mr. Enthusiasm” for sure! Bill retired in 1976 and died in 1999 at age 85.