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on July 13, 2018

James L. Adams named Poultry Science Distinguished Alumnus

Adams was honored on April 27 at a reception at University Park.

James L. Adams, retired from The Wenger Group, was honored by Penn State's Department of Animal Science with its 2018 Poultry Science Distinguished Alumnus award on April 27 with a reception at the University Park Campus.

Adams retired as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of The Wenger Group in March, and had served as former Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for Wenger's Feed Mill, Inc., Rheems.

He will also be recognized at the Poultry Science Club's annual Spring Awards Banquet at the Ramada Inn, State College.

Adams received his B.S. in Poultry Technology and Management from Penn State in 1980 and his M.B.A. from Penn State in 1997. He began his career at Wenger's Feed with an entry-level position developing a quality assurance laboratory for the company that focused on feed and ingredient testing, water quality analysis and poultry diagnostic disease assays.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said when the award announcement was made, "We are elated to honor Jim Adams for the outstanding contributions he has made to the poultry industry, including the tremendous leadership he has provided to the larger agricultural community both in Pennsylvania and nationally."

Adams said at the time, "As I wind down my agricultural and poultry career, it's an honor to be recognized by the Department of Animal Science which prepared me so well for the challenges I encountered over the past 37 years including multiple Avian Influenza outbreaks, risk reduction of Salmonella enteritidis in eggs, and more recently, animal welfare concerns. My close connection to Penn State during that time has been an immense benefit and valuable resource."

Adams is a charter member of the Armsby Honor Society and was recognized by the College of Agricultural Sciences with their Outstanding Alumni Award in 2001 and with Penn State's Ag Council's Agricultural Leadership Award in 2005. 

Committed to serving the larger community, he received PennAg Industries Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in March 2018, and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry's George C. Delp Ag Industry Award in November 2017. He had served two terms as president of Penn Ag, and was chair of the Lancaster Chamber.

Adams served as Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Poultry Federation, Chairman of PennAg's Poultry Council, and was a founding member of the Lancaster County Agriculture Council. 

He worked with the poultry industry through three Avian Influenza outbreaks and helped develop and establish the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program, the first in the country which became a model for the U.S.

He is a past-Chair of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association headquartered in Atlanta, GA, past-chair for the Harold E. Ford Foundation which supports poultry research and student recruitment nationally, and chaired the Pennsylvania Food & Ag Coalition, a grassroots animal agriculture government relations organization. In 2010, he was a member of the Governor's Agriculture Transition Team following the election of Tom Corbett as Governor.

A native of Berks County, he has lived in Lancaster County for 37 years, and resides in Mount Joy with his wife Karen. They have three children and a grandson.

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