Posted: April 12, 2017

Department of Animal Science will honor Hess at a reception and at the Poultry Science Club's annual Spring Awards Banquet on April 28.

Dr. Joseph B. Hess, Extension Specialist and Professor in the Poultry Science Department at Auburn University, will be honored by Penn State's Department of Animal Science with its 2017 Poultry Science Distinguished Alumnus award on April 28 with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. at the University Park Campus. He will also be recognized at the Poultry Science Club's annual Spring Awards Banquet that evening at Celebration Hall, State College.

A native of Lancaster County, PA, he received his B.S. in Poultry Science from Penn State, his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Poultry Science from the University of Georgia with an emphasis on nutrition. His research focus at Georgia explored mineral nutrition of commercial laying hens and egg shell quality. Hess has been at Auburn University since 1992, serving first as assistant professor, then associate professor and professor since 2003.

He was mentored in Lancaster County by Bob Woodward, broiler manager for then Pennfield Corporation, and served as flock advisor for Wenger's Feeds, Rheems, PA. Earlier in his career, he was a technical service nutritionist for Central Soya in Decatur, Indiana and was a graduate research assistant at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "We are so pleased to honor Joe Hess for the tremendous influence he has had in the poultry industry throughout his academic career. His work in preparing students and his contributions through extension continue to greatly enhance the industry."

Hess said, "I am honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Poultry Science Distinguished Alumnus Award. Through my associations with the poultry industry, I have spent time traveling all over the United States and to many foreign countries. Not enough of that time has been spent in Pennsylvania, so it is most gratifying to know that those working in agriculture in Pennsylvania are aware of and value my work. I look forward to returning to Penn State."

In recalling his time as an undergraduate, Hess said, "I treasured my undergraduate time at Penn State as an opportunity to learn the tools of my trade as well as reinforce the value of hard work. I lived at the Poultry Farm with Roland Leach's son Ray and paid for my board by sweeping the aisles of chicken houses at night. Nothing strengthens one's resolve to study and succeed like pushing a broom."

Hess was recognized with the 2011 Phibro Animal Health Poultry Science Extension Award; the 2005 Presidential Award from the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association; the 2005 Honorary FFA Degree from the Alabama Future Farmers of America; and the 2003 American Feed Industry Association Poultry Nutrition Research Award.

He is a board member of the Poultry Science Association, serves as a board advisor to the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association and the Alabama Feed and Grain Association, and is a member of the Southern Poultry Science Society. He has served extensively on planning committees for educational seminars and in-service trainings.

With a primary extension appointment, his extension programs are designed to transfer technology to poultry technical managers through training schools and technical seminars; on-site consultations, articles in the popular press and demonstrations and research trials. His specific research interest includes the effects of nutrient intake and feed ingredient quality on performance and product quality in broilers and broiler breeders. Widely published, he has written for professional journals and his articles have appeared in Poultry Times, Feed Management and Poultry USA.

Hess values working closely with young people as a way to encourage prospective students to attend Auburn and, ultimately, to support a thriving poultry industry in the state. He is often a guest lecturer and presenter in graduate and undergraduate courses.