industry honors Hutjens
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[August 18, 2008]
URBANA -- A leading dairy industry group has
named dairy specialist Mike Hutjens of University of Illinois
Extension as the 2008 Industry Person of the Year. World Dairy Expo
Inc. will present the award Oct. 1 during its annual exposition in
Madison, Wis.World Dairy Expo is the world's largest dairy event. "No one has
been more instrumental in raising levels of knowledge" about the
dairy industry than Hutjens, the awards committee noted. The
award recognizes Hutjens' role in "building a worldwide industry
connecting people, technology and commerce."
Robert A. Easter,
dean of the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences, said that Hutjens' career, as well as
the award, reflect the university's dedication to helping
agriculture meet new challenges.
"Mike is a good example of taking research information to the
people who can apply it to their enterprises and lives. He is
the essence of the land-grant university mission," he said.
Neal Merchen, head of the Department of Animal Sciences,
"Over the past 30 years, I can't think of anyone who
represents the face of academia to the dairy industry more than
Mike Hutjens," he said. "This recognition is especially
important because it is presented by the stakeholders in the
industry and attests to the impact that Mike has had in sharing
his knowledge with the producers."
Although he has received numerous honors during his three
decades in Extension dairy work, Hutjens termed the World Dairy
Expo award as "unique."
"This award is from the industry -- the companies, dairy
managers, agri-business and producers -- that I serve," he said.
Born and raised on a 313-acre, 70-cow dairy farm near Green
Bay, Wis., Hutjens received his undergraduate and graduate
degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1971
until 1979, he was an Extension dairy specialist at the
University of Minnesota. Joining the U of I Department of Animal
Sciences in 1979, Hutjens has served as a faculty member and
His dairy education work has taken him to 46 states, 16 foreign
countries and nine of Canada's provinces, speaking at programs,
observing industry practices and advising producers. Annually,
Hutjens addresses 90 to 100 dairy meetings or seminars. Key areas of
emphasis include the annual Illinois Dairy Days, Four-State Dairy
Seminars, American Association of Bovine Practitioner seminars,
Internet dairy classes leading to the only university dairy
certificate, dairy columns in national dairy magazines, three
Hoard's Dairyman booklets and teaching three dairy classes on the U
of I campus.
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In addition to receiving the U of I College of Agricultural,
Consumer and Environmental Sciences highest award -- the Funk, he
has been recognized for his work by the USDA, the American Dairy
Science Association and the Illinois Milk Producers Association.
Over his career, Hutjens has observed sweeping changes in the
"When I grew up and continuing through my early years in the
field, the common dairy farm included about 40 cows, pigs and feeder
cattle, and crop production," he said. "Over the last 10 to 15
years, we've seen acceleration in specialization and the
disappearance of the diversified enterprise model.
"Today, some dairy producers are not producing any crops, have no
other livestock, and the entire enterprise focuses on milking cows.
We've seen similar trends in the pork and poultry industries."
Hutjens attributes this to "economy of scale" considerations.
"We still have many family farm enterprises in dairy, but even
those are becoming larger," he said. "The U.S. and Illinois dairy
producer continues to be committed and dedicated to the dairy cow
and industry; it has been an honor to work with these individuals as
they feed the world."
[Text from file received from