New U.S. Poultry & Egg Association board members

Jarod Morrison, Farbest Foods, Huntingburg, Indiana, was elected chairman of the board of directors of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). The board meeting was held during the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo. Morrison previously served as vice chairman.

Morrison received his Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Southern Indiana and his Master of Business Administration from Purdue University. Before joining Farbest Foods, he was senior director of finance and accounting with Masterbrand Cabinets and finance manager with GE Plastics. He is currently chief financial officer for Farbest Foods, where he leads all aspects of finance, accounting and IT for Farbest Foods, Farbest Farms and JFS Milling.

Mikell Fries, Claxton Poultry Farms, Claxton, Georgia, was named vice chairman. Fries is a graduate of Georgia Southern University where he obtained a degree in business management. Before assuming Claxton’s head operational role, he spent several years in senior positions, overseeing sales and marketing. He has served the poultry industry in various capacities, including serving on the boards of directors for the Georgia Poultry Federation and Norman W. Fries Inc. He is president for Claxton Poultry Farms.

Jonathan Cade, Hy-Line International, Des Moines, Iowa, was named treasurer. Cade has a degree from Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom. Before becoming president of Hy-Line International, he served as managing director of Hy-Line subsidiary, Hy-Line UK International.

Bill Griffith, Peco Foods, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was named secretary. Griffith is a graduate of Virginia Tech, where he obtained degrees in biology and chemistry. Before joining Peco Foods, he served as president for Keystone Foods, U.S. He also had a successful tenure at Perdue Foods where he oversaw food safety, quality and regulatory compliance, in addition to serving as a microbiologist for Tyson Foods. He has served the poultry industry in various capacities, including participating on the USPOULTRY Foundation Research Advisory Committee as well as remaining active with the National Chicken Council. He is chief operations officer for Peco Foods.

Mike Levengood, vice president, chief animal care officer and farmer relationship advocate for Perdue Farms, is immediate past chairman. Levengood is a graduate of Penn State University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in agriculture business management. He has served the poultry industry in various capacities, including past chairman of the National Chicken Council Growout Committee. He joined Perdue in 1984, where he has held a variety of senior-level positions.

“I look forward to the leadership and guidance these officers will provide our organization,” remarked John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY.

Industry Workhorse of the Year

Greg Hinton, vice president of sales for Rose Acre Farms, was named USPOULTRY’s Workhorse of the Year during the International Poultry Expo. The poultry industry’s most prestigious honor is awarded annually in recognition of dedicated service and valuable leadership given to USPOULTRY and the poultry industry. 

Hinton was “collared” with the long-established horse collar by 2022 Workhorse of the Year recipient Jerry Moye, member of the international advisory board at Hendrix Genetics and past USPOULTRY chairman. Hinton was also presented with a commemorative plaque.

“We are honored to acknowledge Greg with this special award and recognize his numerous contributions to the poultry and egg industry. We are deeply appreciative of his efforts on behalf of the [association,] the USPOULTRY Foundation and the industry,” remarked Mike Levengood.

Hinton attended Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He has served the poultry industry in various capacities on boards and committees, including the Indiana State Egg Board, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, International Egg Commission, United Egg Producers, Indiana Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau. Hinton serves on the Executive Committee and Long-Range Planning Committee for Rose Acre Farms and has been with the company for 40 years.

Throughout his time in the poultry industry, Hinton has been active in USPOULTRY. He is a past chairman of USPOULTRY, having served two years as chairman due to COVID, and has been on the board for 13 years. He has also served as the USPOULTRY Foundation chairman. 

“Through his volunteerism, Greg is one of those individuals that has had not only a tremendous impact on USPOULTRY and our Foundation, but the industry as a whole. We are most grateful for his leadership, his passion to serve the industry and his friendship,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY.

Dr. Charles Beard Research Excellence Award

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are pleased to recognize Dr. Spyros Pavlostathis as the recipient of the annual Dr. Charles Beard Research Excellence Award. Pavlostathis is a professor emeritus of environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Atlanta, Georgia. The award is named in honor of Dr. Charles Beard, former director of the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory and former vice president of research at USPOULTRY.

The USPOULTRY Foundation Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) selected Pavlostathis for this award based on his exceptional research on the fate and effect of antimicrobial solutions in poultry processing wastewater treatment systems and related projects. Pavlostathis has served as the principal investigator for seven USPOULTRY funded grants since 2006 and has been a co-investigator on many others. He used the research funding to provide systematic information to the poultry processing industry to develop a sound methodology and employ other measures to allow the continuous use of antimicrobial products to further enhance food safety, while avoiding upsets of biological wastewater treatment processes.

“Dr. Pavlostathis is well-deserving of this prestigious accolade. The advancements that he has made over the past two decades through his research have provided invaluable knowledge and resources for the poultry industry,” remarked Dr. Denise Heard, vice president of research programs for USPOULTRY.

Pavlostathis completed his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in environmental engineering at Cornell University after obtaining his diploma in agricultural engineering at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. He is a board-certified environmental engineer member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), and a fellow of the International Water Association (IWA), Water Environment Federation (WEF) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Throughout his academic career, Pavlostathis has been a dedicated educator of future environmental engineers, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. 

The goal of the Dr. Charles Beard Research Excellence Award is to recognize outstanding completed research projects, funded by USPOULTRY or the USPOULTRY Foundation, that have made a significant positive impact on the poultry industry. As the recipient of the award, Pavlostathis received a $1,500 cash prize. The award was presented to him during the USPOULTRY Chairman’s Reception by Bill Griffith, secretary for the USPOULTRY board of directors, and long-standing FRAC member.

USPOULTRY Lamplighter Award

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) presented the organization’s annual Lamplighter Award to five individuals at the International Poultry Expo. The award pays tribute to individuals for “sustained and exemplary service” to the poultry and egg industry. This year’s honorees are:

Dr. Hector Cervantes — Cervantes has been an adjunct graduate professor of avian medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia and North Carolina State University since 1995. He is also a past adjunct graduate professor of avian medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), a Master of Science from the University of Georgia and an Avian Medicine Internship Certificate from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He has worked with Cargill, Peterson Farms, Pfizer Animal Health and Phibro Animal Health.

In addition to being a recurring speaker at several USPOULTRY seminars, Cervantes has been involved with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Pathologists, the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, the Poultry Science Association, the Southern Poultry Science Society and Asociación Nacional de Especialistas en Ciencias Avícolas.

Dr. Fidel Hegngi Hegngi is a senior staff veterinarian and the national coordinator of the United States, Live Bird Marketing System Avian Influenza Prevention and Control Program for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services. Prior to joining the USDA, he worked for Wampler-Longacre Foods Inc. and Rocco Turkeys Inc., served as the laboratory director of the Salisbury Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Maryland and served as the assistant state veterinarian, director of laboratory services and poultry specialist for the Maryland State Department of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Consumer Services.

Hegngi obtained his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his Master of Science in poultry science at the University of Maryland. He holds professional memberships in the World Veterinary Poultry Association and the American Association of Avian Pathologists.

Dr. Charles Hofacre Hofacre is president and CEO of the Southern Poultry Research Group. He completed his veterinary degree at The Ohio State University and earned a Master of Avian Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in medical microbiology from the University of Georgia. He has worked with Cuddy Farms, Ross Breeders and the Bayer Animal Health Poultry Business Unit. Before starting his own company, he was a professor, director of clinical services, and graduate coordinator and faculty member in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Health.

Hofacre’s service to veterinary medicine includes participation on national and international expert panels and committees, long-term leadership roles in major professional organizations and serving on editorial boards of major professional journals. From 2003 to present, he has served as only the fifth secretary-treasurer (currently titled executive vice president) in the American Association of Avian Pathologists' 55-year history. He has published approximately 85 peer-reviewed journal papers, 12 book chapters, 25 lay publications and 116 scientific meeting presentations.

Nath Morris — Morris is executive vice president, expo for USPOULTRY and is responsible for the association’s International Poultry Expo and the overall management of the International Production & Processing Expo. Prior to joining USPOULTRY, Morris’s 36 years in the poultry industry included positions with Perdue Farms/Heritage Breeders, Arbor Acres Farms/Aviagen, Meyn U.S.A. and Seaboard Farms.

Morris holds a Bachelor of Science in poultry science from the University of Georgia. He earned his certified in event management (CEM) designation in 2016 and currently serves on the International Association of Exhibitions & Events Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO) Committee. He has also served on the Hall County Board of Education since 2001 and held the chairman’s or vice chairman’s role since 2013. Additionally, he served as president of the Georgia School Board Association in 2015.

Mike Welch — Welch is the retired president and CEO of Harrison Poultry. He began his poultry industry career in 1967, working his way up through the ranks, holding management positions at several major poultry companies before joining Harrison Poultry.

A respected industry leader, Welch served as chairman of the National Chicken Council and as a board member of industry organizations including the Georgia Poultry Federation, the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association and the World Poultry Foundation.

“We value the commitment and support of this year’s Lamplighter Award recipients. They have enthusiastically dedicated themselves to contributing to the poultry industry, and we sincerely appreciate their service to the industry,” said Mike Levengood, vice president, chief animal care officer and farmer relationship advocate for Perdue Farms, and outgoing USPOULTRY chairman.