Dr. R.L. “Bob” Hough has been selected as the Penn State Department of Animal Science’s Animal Science Distinguished Alumnus for 2013, and will be honored during the Little I/Dairy Expo weekend on April 12 and 13 at University Park.
Hough is well-known throughout the country for his service to the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA), Denton, TX, as the Executive Secretary/Treasurer (CEO) for ten years and Marketing Coordinator for three years. He also served as Executive Vice President of the North American Limousin Foundation from 2009 to early 2011, and is now retired and works as a freelance writer.
Raised in Centre County, PA where his family had a general livestock farm, Hough received his undergraduate degree from Penn State in 1982 in animal production. He received his M.S. from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech University, all in animal science. He also coached livestock judging teams and continues to serve on the management committee for the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest.
As an undergraduate at Penn State, Hough was active in the Block & Bridle Club, Little International, the Livestock Judging Team and worked at the Penn State Beef Barns and Meats Lab.
Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, “Bob has had a tremendous impact on the beef industry, both nationally and internationally, providing superb leadership. He led the Red Angus breed to exceptional growth, and serves the entire industry unselfishly. I offer him my sincerest congratulations.”
Hough’s Penn State connections are strong. His mother, Zoe G. Hough graduated in ’66 with a B.S. in education, earning her M.S. in education in 1970. His brother, Col. David Hough, USMC ret., was an ’81 graduate in agriculture and his wife, Nancy Beppler Hough, graduated in ’81 from the College of Liberal Arts. His wife’s parents, David and Marcia Beppler, were on the faculty in agriculture engineering and 4-H administration, respectively.
About the recognition, Hough said, “I am thrilled. It is very much an honor – there are so many prominent names who have received the award, including many leaders whom I have looked up to over the years. It is really a highlight of my career.”
Hough’s previous experience also includes serving as an Extension Specialist in both Arizona and Maine. In Maine, he was awarded the Maine Beef Industry Service Award and inducted into the Maine Beef Hall of Fame.
Hough developed the industry’s first USDA, ISO-9000 based Quality Systems Verification Program, which later became USDA’s first Process Verified Program—Red Angus’ Feeder Calf Certification Program. He negotiated the first value-based marketing grid with a major packer, which has become the standard and transformed the industry. He was involved in the design of the industry’s first “Total Herd Reporting” program, implemented at Red Angus that required the production of every cow and performance of every calf be reported annually. In 2002, under his leadership, Red Angus released the industry’s first Reproduction Sire Summary. Hough received the RAAA’s Distinguished Service Award, and at the Association’s 50th anniversary, he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People of Red Angus.”
His contributions to the industry are many, including having served on the board of the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF), and being one of the founding members and the first Chair of the Ultrasound Guidelines Committee, which oversees certification of all ultrasound field and laboratory technicians. He served as President of U.S. Beef Breeds Council, was on the Board of Directors of the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium, and was on the Board of Directors of the National Pedigree Livestock Council.
A popular speaker and prolific writer, he has written more than 300 scientific, technical, and popular press articles, and wrote the book The History of Red Angus and co-authored the book Breeds of Cattle. He has traveled on beef cattle business to 49 states, nine Canadian provinces, Ireland and five South American countries.
Bob and his wife Nancy live near Denver, CO.