Dr. Lynn Willett (left, in picture above), and Richard Indoe (left in picture below) were honored with Ohio State University’s Dairy Science Hall of Service Awards. Also pictured is Donald Kensinger, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences.
COLUMBUS — Richard Indoe and Dr. Lynn Willett were awarded one of the highest honors in Ohio’s dairy industry, the Dairy Science Hall of Service Award, by The Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences May 12.
This award honors those individuals who have made a significant difference in the dairy industry. The presentation was made at the annual dairy recognition luncheon hosted by the Buckeye Dairy Club and the Department of Animal Sciences.
Indoe joined his father in the family’s farm, known as Richman Farms, upon graduation from The Ohio State University in 1959 with a bachelor of science in dairy science.
Richman Farms is an all-registered herd with one of the highest breed-adjusted averages for Type (BAA) in the state and has one of the most outstanding 2X herd average for milk production.
Indoe has sold cattle all over the U.S. and to other countries, including Canada, Greece, Spain and South America. Richman Farms promote their herd and the dairy industry by exhibiting at local, district and national shows, having exhibited several All-American and All-American-nominated cattle.
Indoe has been showing at the Ohio State Fair for more than 50 years, having received five Grand Champion Holstein banners.
He was enshrined in the prestigious Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame in 2010. Indoe has served the Ohio Holstein Association through involvement in committee work, as president of the Association, and as a national delegate.
He has represented Ohio and dairy farmers around the country by this service as a member of the board of directors for the National Holstein Association, USA.
In 2008, he received the Ohio Holstein Association Distinguished Service Award. Indoe was a 4-H adviser for 25 years, leading to him receiving the 4-H Meritorious Service Award.
He has supported the Medina County FFA chapters by allowing tours and judging contests and by providing meeting rooms for them. He also was a member of the local Joint Vocational School Curriculum Committee and served on the Medina County Fair Board for 15 years.
He provides cattle for the judging contests held during Spring Dairy Expo. He received the Honorary Chapter Farmer Degree from the Cloverleaf FFA Chapter and the FFA Outstanding Service Award.
In addition, he served on The Ohio State University Dairy Science Advisory board and is a past Boy Scout troop committeeman.
Willett received a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science in 1966 from Colorado State University. He received a Master of Science in Dairy Management in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Animal Physiology in 1971, both degrees being from Purdue University.
Following graduation, he was a National Aeronautical and Space Administration Fellow for two years at Purdue University and then became an assistant professor at The Ohio State University in 1971. He progressed to the rank of professor, was associate chair of the Department of Dairy Science from 1986 through 1994, and retired in 2005.
In 1974, the largest chemical contamination incident in the U.S. occurred in Michigan with the accidental incorporation of polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) into livestock feed, which subsequently was distributed throughout the state. Willett’s research results played a major role in the procedures for cleanup, risk assessment and regulations regarding this issue and for establishing the regulatory tolerances for PBB in milk and meat.
In early 1982, the second biggest chemical contamination incident in U.S. history occurred in Hawaii when every dairy production unit, except one, was found to have concentrations of a pesticide, Heptachlor, in the milk fat. Willett worked with regulators, dairy industry representatives, and legislators to bring the situation under control.
Later in the same year, Region V of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed that all dairy and livestock farms with feed storage silos containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) be listed as “Hazardous Waste Sites,” requiring a contained cleanup with all waste removed. Willett and Ting-Ting Lieu conducted research, and the findings resulted in the EPA rescinding the order.
In 1993, Willett published a paper in the Journal of Dairy Science that described the transfer of soil-borne organohalogen compounds to the plant canopy by volatilization. This work discredited the long-standing theories of translocation of these residues through the root and vascular system of forage plants. Whereas this research had only moderate impact in the Midwest, it resulted in significant impact in the southern and southwestern sections of the U.S. where large tracts of land were switched from cotton production to forages for cattle.
These and other scientific endeavors by Willett provide evidence of his impact on the Ohio and U.S. dairy industry.
In addition to the research that he has conducted on the kinetics and toxicity of environmental chemicals on food-producing animals, he has conducted research on carbohydrate utilization in newborn dairy calves.