ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has honored Calvin Ross Hamilton, PhD, a longtime feed industry leader and founding trustee of the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), with its 2024 Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest accolade.

The award typically is given to elite members of the US animal food industry who have provided outstanding support to the AFIA and the entire animal food industry throughout their careers. Sarah Novak, AFIA’s chief operating officer, presented the award to Hamilton on May 15 during AFIA’s board of directors reception. 

“Hamilton is a visionary leader who anticipates potential consequences, identifies long-term implications and formulates practical plans to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities,” Novak said. “His contributions have made a profound impact on the industry as a whole and organizations within, like AFIA and the Institute for Feed Education and Research.”

Hamilton recently retired from a 26-year career at Darling Ingredients, where he served in a variety of roles, including vice president of government affairs, related technology and biosecurity, in which he oversaw the quality assurance and product safety teams. Prior to joining Darling Ingredients, Hamilton held the positions of swine research extension specialist and associate professor at South Dakota State University. 

Hamilton’s involvement in the AFIA and IFEEDER spanned several years. He served on AFIA’s board of directors and as a founding trustee for IFEEDER, where he served on the board for 11 years. 

In addition to his career achievements, Hamilton has made significant contributions to the animal feed and rendering industries through his involvement and leadership in several professional and industry organizations, including the American Society of Animal Science, the US Animal Health Association, the North American Renderers Association and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. 

During critical junctures, Hamilton provided leadership and support to the animal food industry through serving as an adviser, participating in task forces and work groups, and representing the industry’s interests in international fora. He also has authored more than 150 scientific papers and publications.

Hamilton earned his doctorate in animal science from the University of Missouri-Columbia, his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and animal nutrition, respectively, from Texas Tech University.