Posted: July 22, 2021

Jud Heinrichs, Ph.D., Professor of Dairy Science at Penn State, has been awarded the 2021 Service to American/World Agriculture Award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) at its annual meeting held virtually from Philadelphia, PA, July 6-9.

Jud Heinrichs, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Dairy Science at Penn State, has been awarded the 2021 Service to American/World Agriculture Award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) at its annual meeting held virtually from Philadelphia, PA, July 6-9. This prestigious award is given in recognition of Heinrichs’ immense and enduring contributions to agriculture in Pennsylvania, the United States and around the world.

His 39-year career in research and education has been distinguished with its complete commitment to making dairy nutrition better for the animal, the producer and the environment. With a 60 percent Extension, 40 percent research appointment, his three major areas of emphasis included dairy forage nutrition, calf management and heifer nutrition.

Dr. Adele Turzillo, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, “Jud’s contribution to the dairy industry has had a profound and lasting impact, not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the world. His ability to find solutions which can easily be put into use on the farm has made problem-solving much more available to producers. And making all of these innovations available through demonstrations or on the web has been of tremendous value to the entire industry. I offer congratulations on this very well-deserved honor.”

One of Heinrichs’ most enduring tools was the development, with Dennis Buckmaster of Ag and Biological Engineering, of the Penn State Particle Separator (PSPS). Used to measure forage and diet particle size, it has become a beneficial tool around the world, used in many research studies and by the feed industry, and it has become a standard tool for dairy nutritionists with its universal application for dairy diet formulation and analysis.

Heifer nutrition was a primary emphasis of his extension and research activities, and with his graduate students, he has been a primary originator of many heifer metabolism studies. He has spoken around the world on the findings of their research, and has developed the Penn State Heifer Growth Charts and the Penn State Dairy Weight Tape, both utilized widely around the world by progressive dairy farmers and consultants. Much of the development of these can be attributed to research in Pennsylvania through extension programs.

          One focus of his heifer research was in defining their nutrient requirements, and he developed a novel feeding system for dairy heifers that promotes minimal nutrient waste through increased feed efficiency. Feeding highly digestible diets increases the efficiency of the heifer’s metabolism and digestion while having no negative effects on the animal.

          Dr. Lisa Holden, Associate Professor of Dairy Science and Extension Dairy Team leader, said, “Jud sought out opportunities to collaborate with others in evaluating heifer systems for both nutritional and financial efficiencies. Because of his research, producers and their consultants have found increased ways to provide more efficient and cost effective management within their programs. His leadership has been greatly valued.”

Robert C. Gooding, Jr., Extension Associate, Dairy, said, “Jud’s career reflects a body of work that has been extremely important in helping producers and industry personnel become more effective in managing their operations. We who have worked with him are deeply grateful for his thoughtful leadership. This award is truly a recognition of a body of work that has had lasting impact on the dairy industry.”

          Calf management was a third extension and research area, and Heinrichs produced many publications, videos, computer spreadsheets and other tools to help educators, industry and producers to improve their knowledge of calf nutrition and management.

Another enduring legacy is his founding and leadership of the Penn State Nutrition Conference, growing over 21 years to more than 650 participants and recognized as a leading educational event for the dairy feed industry. About 15% of the registrants come from other countries also.  In addition, he team-taught a one-week course in dairy nutrition through the University of Costa Rica for 19 years for consultants in Central and South America. 

Heinrichs has been a mentor for many graduate students. He has authored 185 journal articles and 18 book chapters as well as more than 200 extension publications on dairy replacements and forages. Among the many awards he has received is the 2018 American Dairy Science Association Fellow Award, the ADSA Dairy Extension award in 2013, the ADSA Forage Award in 2013, and the ADSA Applied Nutrition Award in 2000. Heinrichs edited Dairy digest, a bi-monthly publication for county educations and industry for many years and was responsible for the Penn State Dairy Nutrition website. Jud was also the first and only Penn State faculty member inducted in the JDS 100 club; to have published over 100 original research papers in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Raised on a small Holstein farm in Sullivan County, NY, he received his B.S. in animal science from Cornell University, his M.S. and Ph.D. in dairy science from The Ohio State University. He resides in Spring Mills with his wife Brenda. He will retire from the faculty in July 2021 and is looking forward to travel while continuing to be somewhat involved in the dairy industry.