The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) announced that Dr. Roger Johnson, Director of Pork Quality, Smithfield-Farmland Corporation, is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award.  The award was established in 1965 to recognize outstanding achievement in meat science extension and service to the industry and is sponsored by the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF).

Dr. Roger Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Illinois.  He earned his master's and doctorate degrees in animal science from South Dakota State University.   While working on his graduate degrees, he was an advocate for meat judging and coached many successful teams and individuals.    Dr. Johnson has a remarkable recollection and can tell you his team’s strengths and weaknesses for any contest you ask about.  He also introduced alternative beef and pork cut judging classes, helped with the Meat Animal Evaluation Handbook, has served on many contest committees, and continues to help supply product to contests.

Dr. Johnson began his industry career as the Manager of Meat Science Programs for DEKALB Swine Breeders in 1990. During Roger’s tenure at DEKALB, he was instrumental in developing both carcass composition and meat quality genetic selection tools that the company used to significantly enhance their product lines to meet the needs of the evolving pork industry.  Dr. Johnson was one of the early pioneers in identifying, measuring and improving pork muscle quality at the commercial level.  He has been and continues to be one of the industry leaders in pork muscle research.

In 1999, Dr. Johnson joined Farmland Foods as a project manager for a unique cooperative venture called the Triumph Pork Group.  Through this endeavor, he led a team that developed a customized sire line that created a very unique product mix.  He also worked to create one of the first comprehensive pork Process Verified Programs.   With the recent reorganization of the Smithfield and Farmland, Roger now leads the quality initiatives for the Smithfield Farmland Fresh Meat Group.  He continues to actively focus on instrumental grading for marbling and tenderness, optimizing systems for production of meat quality, genetic program improvements including molecular components, as well as fat quality and measurement.

Dr. Roger Johnson was nominated by Collette Kaster, Smithfield-Farmland, who stated “Because of his unique qualities and passionate leadership in advancing the science and technology of this industry, Roger Johnson is truly deserving of this year’s AMSA Distinguished Extension/Industry Service Award.”

AMSA also announced that Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan has been named an AMSA Fellow and is a recipient of the 2014 AMSA Signal Service Award. The AMSA Signal Service Award was established in 1956 and is given to members in recognition of devoted service and lasting contributions to the meat industry and to the association. The Signal Service Awards are sponsored by Keystone Foods, Johnsonville Sausage Company and Elanco Animal Health.

“Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan is an internationally recognized researcher in her field who also gives generously of her time and talents to mentor students and junior scientists, and to serve her discipline, her university, and AMSA,” stated Bob Delmore, Professor, Colorado State University and President, AMSA.

Her major research focus is on elucidating biochemical mechanisms in muscle that ultimately influence fresh meat quality. She has created an internationally renowned, independently funded fundamental program that results in significant practical applications for the industry. In addition, she has an exceptionally strong, widely known fundamental program in muscle biology. Her program is well known and respected not only in her specific field in agriculture, but in the larger scientific community as well.

She is known as a research leader who is continually making an impact on her field by using creative, cutting edge research techniques in her research.  She is also dedicated to assisting both established and junior scientists world-wide in enhancing their skills in research.  To this end she has hosted many international faculty members and students in her laboratory.  She also has had a major impact on her discipline by serving as an associate editor for Meat Science.

Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan’s field of study is applied muscle biology and early postmortem muscle/meat biochemistry.  She has made several important scientific contributions in her field and has been recognized by her peers for her work. She has over 50 peer-reviewed papers that have been published in the most respected journals in her field, 7 peer-reviewed book chapters, over 100 abstracts and one patent. Her scholarly writings are considered extremely high quality and relevant. Dr. Huff-Lonergan has been invited to present her research at national and international conferences and at other universities nearly 50 times. Dr. Huff-Lonergan has been very successful in attracting funds to support her work. During her career, she has been the primary or co-primary investigator on over 60 successful grant proposals with awards totaling almost $9 million.

Dr. Huff-Lonergan also has an active track record in professional and institutional service. She has held several leadership roles in her discipline. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Animal Science, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Meat Science Association. Her service to AMSA and the meat industry makes Dr. Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan a worthy recipient of the Signal Service Award and being named an AMSA Fellow. 

Johnson and Huff-Lonergan will be honored at an Awards banquet during the AMSA 67th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, in Madison, WI.

Source: AMSA