The Honorable Samuel E. Hayes, Jr., of Warriors Mark, Huntingdon County, will receive the Obie Snider Award at the 54th All-American Dairy Show, set for September 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 distinguished legislative career in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he was the Majority Leader and Whip.
The award, established in memory of Obie Snider of Bedford County, 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.
“Obie Snider would be proud to stand with each recipient of his namesake award, as they continue to honor his memory by building and strengthening the All-American Dairy Show,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Secretary Sam Hayes embodies the very best of public service, always listening and searching for ways to solve problems, making our state and nation stronger. His work ethic, leadership and passion for the agriculture industry have had a profound impact on Pennsylvania, inspiring many and benefiting us all.”
A true agriculture advocate and long-time supporter of the All-American Dairy Show, 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.”
To help honor Obie’s legacy, Hayes helped to develop a commemorative one-of-a-kind glass star and hand-made cabinet that remain on display in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. He also helped to secure the glass stars still given to award 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 – events that benefit the state’s economy, agriculture industry, and local communities. 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.
“We wanted to give more ‘elbow room’ for the big dairy, equine and livestock shows,” Hayes said of the expansion of the complex. “I always said we needed a facility that was versatile enough to host everything from barrows to ballet.”
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.
Hayes joins a group of outstanding recipients who share Snider’s visionary leadership for a stronger dairy industry. Previous Obie Snider Award winners are, in order of receipt: Donald Seipt, Easton, Northampton County; Creedin Cornman, Carlisle, Cumberland County; David Patrick, Woodbine, Md.; Berneta Gable, New Enterprise, Bedford County; Dieter Krieg, Lititz, Lancaster County; George Cashell, Shippensburg, Cumberland County; John Cope, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County; Janet Harding, Clarion, Clarion County; William Nichol, State College, Centre County; Samuel Yoder, Shoemakersville, Berks County; Jane Pepple, Oxford, Chester County; Dr. Douglas Evans, DVM, Georgetown, N.Y.; and James and Rita Kennedy of Valencia, Butler County.
Contact the show office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-787-2905 for more information and to be a part of the 54th All-American.
Visit the newly-revamped www.allamerican.pa.gov for more details about the All-American Dairy Show. The event features 22 shows in six days, in addition to the nation’s only all-dairy antiques show. Last year’s show featured nearly 3,000 animals and 1,500 exhibitors from around the country.