March 31 2010 07:05 AM

Gene joined the Hoard's Dairyman editorial staff as Associate Editor and was Managing Editor from 1972 until retirement in 1988. He grew up on a Guernsey dairy farm in Iowa. As a youth, Meyer was active in 4-H and FFA and showed registered Guernseys. He was a member of Iowa's winning 4-H dairy cattle judging team that competed at the National Dairy Show on Treasure Island at the San Francisco World's Fair in 1939. The next year, he enrolled at Iowa State University, majoring in Dairy Husbandry. As a sophomore, he became a member of Iowa State's dairy cattle judging team that won the 1942 national judging contest. He was high individual in that contest.

His college education was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1942. For the next 34 months, he was a navigator on a B-24 bomber plane in the 15th Air Force. He participated in bombing missions in the European theater. After the war, he returned to Iowa State in September 1945 to complete his B.S. degree. He was a member of Iowa State's 1946 livestock judging team and graduated that December. Meyer's first job was at Radio Station WHO, Des Moines, the clear channel voice of the Middle West where he worked the Farm News Department.

For 25 years, he served as official judge of national dairy cattle judging contest, and today the award bestowed on the nation's top collegiate dairy judge bears his name. He is past president of the National Dairy Shrine, a 17,000 member organization. In 1998, he co-authored the book "National Dairy Shrine's First 50 years." He also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Klussendorf Society, the "Hall of Fame" of the U.S. and Canada's top dairy cattle exhibitors.

Following his retirement, Gene continued as consultant to Hoard's Dairyman editorial staff and the Hoard's Dairyman 518-acre farm and registered Guernsey herd. Until his death, he guided the magazine's Annual Cow Judging Contest which celebrated its 75th Anniversary this year. That contest has received 5.3 million entries from 82 countries representing the magazine's readership. Meyer also was a board member of World Dairy Expo and Fort Atkinson Historical Society.

Gene's dedication to agriculture and the entire dairy industry was recognized nationwide. Organizations that recognized his efforts were: National FFA Distinguished Service Award, 1960; Iowa State 4-H Alumni Award, 1965; Honorary Membership in Klussendorf Memorial Association,1977; First Distinguished Graduate Award - Iowa State University Dairy Science Club, 1978; National DHIA Distinguished Service Award, 1978; American Jersey Cattle Club Honorary Membership, 1978; and Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association - Award for Meritorious Service, 1979. In 1980, he received the American Dairy Science Association Distinguished Service Award and one year later the Alpha Gamma Rho Leadership in Agriculture Award and Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit (University of Wisconsin chapter).

The University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Science awarded Gene its highest honor; the Award of Distinction for Meritorious Service in Agriculture and Rural life in 1982, and the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce bestowed its Economic Contribution Award that same year. In 1984, he received the Outstanding Community Leadership Award - Jefferson County Reserve Officers' Association. The highlight of his professional career came in 1986 when he was named National Dairy Shrine's Guest of Honor.

More honors included: American Guernsey Association Distinguished Service Award, 1987; National Association of Animal Breeders Distinguished Service Award, 1988; National Milk Producers Federation Distinguished Citizen of Agriculture Award, 1988; World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year, 1988; Purebred Dairy Cattle Association's first Distinguished Service Award, 1989; Iowa State University's Henry A. Wallace Award for significant contributions to agriculture, 1989; National Dairy Board's Richard Lyng Award for Distinguished Service to Dairy Promotion and Research, 1989; Fort Atkinson Lions Club Distinguished Service Award for Community Service, 1995; and the Alpha Zeta Centennial Honor Roll, 1997. Just last year, Gene received the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity "Brother of the Century" award at its centennial celebration.

Other community activities included past president of Chamber of Commerce, charter president of Fort Atkinson Area United Way, trustee and former president of Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital Board; and served on numerous committees for the First United Methodist Church.

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