Department of Animal Science Announces Golden Alumni Winners

The Department of Animal Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota announces Dr. Bruce Behrends as the winner of the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Industry and Dr. Bradley Johnson as the winner of the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Academia. The Golden Alumni Award recognizes one alumni from industry and one alumni from academia for their distinction in their professional lives, recognition for outstanding contributions to animal agriculture, and exceptional service to or volunteer activities in their respective fields.

Dr. Bruce Behrends will be presented with the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Industry. Bruce received his bachelors and both of his advanced degrees in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Paul Waibel. During his time as a student here, Bruce was known for his expertise in poultry and his strong mentoring abilities with his fellow graduate students. Bruce started his career in 1979 when he was hired by Bob Sparboe of Sparboe farms. Over the course of 25 years, Bruce helped to grow Sparboe farms from 300,000 layer hens to 13 million hens and expanded their AGRI-TECH nutrition service and premix business from 3-4 major customers to 30-40 customers across 25 different states. His impacts reached beyond the poultry industry as well. Bruce developed a system of ‘toll’ feed mills that supported nutrition while saving on feed costs, and the system has been widely adapted by the pork industry in the Midwest. He identified growing consumer trends, and has been instrumental in helping establish cage free and organic operations throughout the state. Bruce’s reach is international as well. He is highly regarded by the Japanese egg industry, and has fostered meaningful and important relationships between Japanese egg producers and Sparboe. Throughout his career Bruce served on and volunteered with a number of organizations to share his expertise and talents including the Minnesota Nutrition Conference, Poultry Science Journal, 4H, Litchfield Library Board, and the Department of Animal Science.

Dr. Bradley Johnson will be presented with the Golden Alumni Award – Achievement in Academia. Brad received both his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota, Department of Animal Science under Dr. Jay Meiske and Dr. Bill Dayton. After completing his degree, Brad went on to serve as Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University and later as Associate Professor at Kansas State University. He currently serves as a Professor and Gordon W. Davis Regents Chair in Meat Science and Muscle Biology at Texas Tech University. Throughout his career, Brad has demonstrated a consistent and strong record as a scientist. Brad is a nationally and internationally recognized authority in animal growth and muscle biology, with notable applied and basic research contributions in the area of growth-enhancing technologies. As a researcher, he has amassed an impressive record that includes 11 book chapters and invited reviews, 87 peer reviewed scientific journal articles and 187 abstracts. Brad has been sought worldwide in issues related to meat and muscle biology, and has worked with the feedlot industry from Indonesia to South Korea to Brazil. Throughout all of this, he has continued to mentor and teach our next generation of scientists and has advised 70 graduate students and post-doctoral scientists, and taught 14 university courses so far in his career.

Dr. Behrends and Dr. Johnson will be recognized for their achievements and presented their awards at the 2018 Connecting with U – Animal Science Showcase on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Details for the event are listed below. Alumni, industry partners, students, and stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to attend. Register to attend at:

Connecting with U – Animal Science Showcase

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

University of Minnesota—St. Paul Campus
Cargill Building, Atrium and Seminar Room
1500 Gortner Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM – Poster Session
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Lunch and Networking
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Awards and Programming

Register here by Monday, April 2:

For information or questions, please reach out to Allison Kierth at