Cordell Hatch was born March 28, 1933, in Bethel Springs, Tennessee and grew up on a general crops and livestock farm.
He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from the University of Tennessee in 1954. He received a master's degree in agricultural journalism in 1966 and a doctorate in extension administration and educational communications in 1968, both from the University of Wisconsin.
He began his extension career as an assistant editor at Tennessee in 1954. In 1959, he moved to Pennsylvania State University to become extension radio editor.
In addition, he has served in several foreign countries, including Colombia, Argentina, Swaziland, the Philippines, Nepal, Japan and Pakistan.
While Hatch was ACE president, the name of the organization was changed to Agricultural Communicators in Education.
He retired December 31, 1991. In retirement, he has served as an information transfer advisor in Pakistan.