H. CONNOR KENNETT, JR.
Herman Connor Kennett, Jr., was born in Durham, NC, on April 16, 1932. He attended North Carolina State University where he received a B.S. degree in Poultry Science in 1954. Following his graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Army before joining the Standardization Branch of USDA, Poultry Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, as a poultry marketing specialist in 1956. His work at the time involved the development of standards and grades for poultry, eggs, and products thereof, as well as the development and implementation of egg and poultry inspection programs. He was also deeply involved with the development and implementation of the mandatory USDA Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957.
In 1962, he was promoted to Assistant Branch Chief, and in 1966 to Branch Chief of the Standardization Branch. In 1967, he moved to become the Deputy Director, Poultry Division AMS-USDA. In that position he administered nation-wide voluntary poultry and egg grading, standardization activities, voluntary egg products inspection, mandatory poultry inspection, national poultry market news service, and the purchase of poultry and egg products for the national school lunch and feeding programs for the needy. He also played an important role in the development and implementation of the mandatory Egg Products Inspection Act of 1970.
In 1973, Connor was promoted to Director of the USDA Poultry division AMS-USDA. He served in that capacity until October 31, 1988 - the longest tenure of any Poultry division Director. In that capacity, his responsibilities included those duties mentioned above, except that mandatory inspection of poultry was transferred to APHIS in the late l960’s, and oversight of a mandatory egg check-off program for eggs was added to the agency’s responsibility during 1974. He was also involved in the development and implementation of the Egg Research and Consumer Information Act in 1974.
In addition to his duties with USDA, Connor was a true friend of the U.S. and North Carolina poultry industries. He worked at length with industry, governmental agencies and the Congress to develop necessary and needed programs that helped the industry and the eventual consumers of egg and poultry products.
Connor received many awards during his distinguished career including USDA certificates of Merit in eight different years, USDA Superior Service Awards in 1960 and 1977, and the Presidential Award as a "Meritorious Executive" in 1982. He has received distinguished service awards from numerous poultry organizations including: American Egg board, Maryland Egg Council, Georgia Poultry Federation, National Broiler Council, Southeastern Egg and Poultry Association, Pacific Egg and Poultry Association, and United Egg Producers. He holds an honorary membership in the National Turkey Federation, and a scholarship was established in his name in 1988 for a deserving Poultry Science student at NC State University. Connor was inducted into the American Poultry Historical Society’s Poultry Hall of Fame at the Southeastern Poultry and Egg Association’s meeting in January, 1992.
H. Connor Kennett, Jr. was a true pioneer in the U.S. and North Carolina poultry industries, and the North Carolina Poultry Federation is pleased to honor him on this the 16th day of August, 1997 as a member of the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame