Former Pa. Ag Secretary wins dairy service award

drops of milk

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Samuel E. Hayes, Jr., of Warriors Mark, received the Obie Snider Award at the 54th All-American Dairy Show, which took place Sept. 16-21, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Hayes served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture from 1997-2003 after a legislative career in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he was the Majority Leader and Whip.


The award, established in memory of Obie Snider, a founding father of the All-American Dairy Show, recognizes an individual who places significant value in service to the industry and community and displays high standards of conduct.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said Hayes, “embodies the very best of public service…”

“His work ethic, leadership and passion for the agriculture industry have had a profound impact on Pennsylvania, inspiring many and benefiting us all,” he said.

Hayes was responsible for initiating the Obie Snider Award to honor Snider’s memory.

He recruited dairy producer John Burkett of East Freedom, Blair County, and Pennsylvania Holstein Association Executive Secretary Ken Raney of State College, Centre County, to put the plans in motion.

“I wanted to rally the troops to do something lasting to remember Obie,” Hayes said.

“Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would get the award because I envisioned that dairy breeders and exhibitors would be its recipients.”


During his tenure as leader of the House, Hayes secured state funding for the All-American, Keystone International Livestock Exposition, and Pennsylvania’s county and community fairs. He also increased appropriations for Penn State Extension and agricultural research.

Under his leadership, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture established protocols to eradicate avian influenza in poultry flocks and the Plum Pox Virus in fruit orchards; secured Pennsylvania as a national leader in farmland preservation; and expanded the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center to include the Equine Arena and the 175,000 square foot Weis Exposition Hall.


Hayes has also received accolades from a diverse group of state, national and international organizations.

A Vietnam veteran, he was selected for the inaugural class of the National Army ROTC Hall of Fame.

He also received Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni and Alumni Fellow awards, an honorary Doctor of Laws from Juniata College, the highest award bestowed by the University of Guanajuato for a person living outside of the Republic of Mexico, and distinguished service awards from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and PennAg Industries.

Hayes and wife Elizabeth Keister live in Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County, and have three sons: Samuel III, Lee and Erick.


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