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Roy Graber, staff reporter for WATTAgNet, combines his Midwestern farming background with his knowledge of economics and agriculture policy to offer a deeper look at the poultry and pig industries.
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Animal agriculture lost many good leaders in 2017

agriculture obituaries
Many leaders in animal agriculture who passed away during the past year are kindly remembered. | Grandaded, Bigstock
January 2, 2018

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the previous year, as well as pay tribute to the people we lost in the previous year.

The poultry, feed and pig industries saw many influential and dedicated people pass away during 2017.

It would be nearly impossible to list all of the people who made positive contributions to the animal agriculture industry, so I apologize if I inadvertently left anybody out. Based off of earlier reports on WATTAgNet, here are a few of the noteworthy people who we lost in 2017, listed chronologically, that deserve one more round of recognition:

Arthur Diaper

Arthur Diaper was the director of Diaper Poultry. He dedicated his career to his family’s U.K. poultry company, starting in the factory and later as manager of the farms.

Charles W. Wampler Jr.

Charles W. Wampler Jr. was the founder of Wampler Foods Inc. and a poultry industry leader. He was known as the first man to bring turkeys to Turkey. In 1954, Wampler took 3,000 poults and 30,000 chicks to Turkey. The Turkish government was planning to start a poultry industry there, and he agreed to help them. 

Glenn Froning

Glenn Froning chaired the Poultry Science Department at the University of Nebraska and served as American Egg Board food science and technology adviser. He also served on the faculty at Rutgers University and the University of Connecticut.

Thomas Hertzfeld

Thomas “Big Tom” Edward Hertzfeld served as president of Hertzfeld Poultry Farms and was the recipient of the Ohio Poultry Association’s 2015 Golden Egg Award, which is given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey communities.

Clayton Yeutter

Clayton Yeutter served as U.S. secretary of agriculture under President George H.W. Bush and as U.S. Trade Representative under President Ronald Reagan. Yeutter oversaw the passage of the 1990 Farm Bill.

Kika de la Garza

Having served as the U.S. House Agriculture Committee chairman from 1981 to 1995, Eligio “Kika” de la Garza pushed farmers’ and immigrant agricultural workers’ agendas, and helped to reorganize the agricultural lending and farm insurance systems, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and pesticide laws. 

Gary Sansom

Active in the Australian poultry industry since 1980, Gary Sansom became the executive officer of the Australian Chicken Growers Council (ACGC) and president of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF).

Claude Thomas Silva Jr.

Claude Thomas Silva Jr. spent the majority of his working life in the egg business in California and Oregon. He served the egg industry as a board member of United Egg Producers for many years, becoming chairman in 1983 and 1984. He was honored with the distinguished award of Egg Producer of the Year in 1984.

Duane L. Koch

Duane L. Koch was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Koch’s Turkey Farms. He was a pioneer of antibiotic-free and organic growing practices in the poultry industry. He was a member of the National Turkey Federation, PennAg, and Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.

Bo Pilgrim

Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim was the co-founder of Pilgrim’s Pride. In the early days, he and his brother, Aubrey, would sell 100 baby chicks and a sack of feed to local farmers who would take the chicks home and raise them in their backyards. Bo persevered after Aubrey’s death in 1966, growing the business through acquisitions. Today, Pilgrim’s Pride is the second largest poultry company in the United States.

Ray Clark Jones

A strong leader in the egg industry, Ray Clark Jones served as president of Crystal Farms Inc. and Crystal Farms Mills Inc., president of J&S Farms, director of the Georgia Egg Association, director of the American Egg Board, and secretary and director of the National Egg Company.

Lowell Robert Koch

Lowell Robert Koch was the founder and president of Koch’s Turkey Farm. He grew the farm of 1,300 turkeys per year to nearly one million per year with distribution across half of the United States. He served as former president and current member of the Pennsylvania Poultry Federation and member of the National Turkey Federation. 

Mark Cook

An avowed “chickenologist,” Mark Cook was a professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose research yielded advances in human health and food production. He had more than 20 patents and three startup companies.

Bill Vaags

Bill Vaags was president of the Canadian Pork Council from 1985 to 1990. He was the founding director of Canada Pork International (CPI) in 1991, and the organization's chairman in 1997-1998 and from 2000 to 2005. 

Nick Zimmermann

Dr. Nickolas “Nick” Zimmermann was a University of Maryland poultry specialist and was active in Poultry Science Association, Maryland Feed Industry Council, Delmarva Poultry Industry and American Poultry Historical Society




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