Noblesville, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1999
Donald E. Orr, Jr., graduated from Purdue in 1967 with a B.S. in Animal Science. He is President and Chief Operating Officer of United Feeds. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: On his childhood: “I worked on the family farm, and that has provided me my whole life’s professional career. My father taught me to work hard and strive for excellence, to use what resources I have wisely and to plan for success. He also taught me that success requires preparation and sacrifice. You can’t always have it today. You have to do the important things and maybe give up something, that will allow you to be successful down the road.” On a major Purdue influence: “I particularly remember Dr. Hobart Jones, professor of Animal Science and swine specialist, because he was involved in judging many 4-H swine shows around the state. I knew him when I was 10 years old, a first year 4-H member and I had the reserve grand champion barrow at the Tipton County Fair. Later, he was my counselor at Purdue and he challenged me to excel, work hard, and improve on what I was doing.” On where his Purdue education has gotten him: “I have had the opportunity to see and experience the nutrition and swine business around the country and around the world. Today, I find myself based only seven miles from the farm where I grew up. I feel very fortunate see my industry from a global perspective and then to be able to apply my knowledge and experience in an industry I admire. “I’ve also judged swine at several major livestock shows in the United States and in Japan. I’ve enjoyed doing those activities where I have been able to influence young people and instill values and pride in the industry.” On changes in his industry: “Today we’re feeding a pig that is like an athlete. He’s a lean, heavy-muscled animal bred to provide the kind of animal protein that today’s consumers say they desire. To produce this animal efficiently, we have to meet his needs. As the genetics of the animal change, we have to meet the nutritional requirements to optimize lean, efficient growth, and do it cost effectively. We’re not feeding pigs like we were 20 or 40 years ago. There have been so many advances that we have to constantly re-evaluate.” On the future: “The future of agriculture is really unlimited. It will be great for those who embrace change, use those tools that are available today, and utilize sound business principles. “As for the future of the world-it’s becoming smaller and smaller and many of us will play a major role in the global agriculture industry. Who would have thought that a little company in Sheridan, Indiana, would become one of the world leaders in swine nutrition and emerging swine technology? Each year, visitors from all around the globe come see what we are doing and many of them have a real desire to do business with us and apply our technology to their local economy.” His favorite Purdue memory: “My very favorite Purdue memory is of meeting my wife, Pam. She didn’t go to Purdue (she was a student at IU), but her identical twin sister did. Her sister set us up on a blind date, but I already knew what she looked like because I knew her identical twin. Pam’s parents are both Purdue graduates. Her grandfather was a graduate of a Purdue ag short course held in the early 1900s.” Highlights/Orr Education B.S., Animal Sciences, Purdue University, 1967 M.S., Animal Industry, Pennsylvania State University, 1969 Ph.D., Animal Nutrition, Michigan State University, 1975 Career 1984-present United Feeds, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Vice President of Nutrition and Development, 1984-1997 Member of Board of Directors 1975-84 Texas Tech University Assistant and Associate Professor of Animal Science 1974-75 Central Soya Company Swine Nutritionist Honors and Associations American Society of Animal Science National Pork Producers Council National Feed Ingredient Association American Feed Industry Association Indiana Corporation for Science and Technology Charter Diplomate, American College of Animal Nutrition American Registry Professional Animal Scientists Family Donald Orr and his wife, Pam, have two sons, David and Daniel. Pam is an elementary school teacher in the Noblesville schools. David, a 1996 graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute, is currently a graduate student in the Purdue Krannert School of Management Master’s Program. Daniel is a senior at Purdue majoring in Food Process Engineering and is a member and student manager of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. Display quote/Orr “I have had the opportunity to see and experience the nutrition and swine business around the country and around the world. Today, I find myself based only seven miles from the farm where I grew up. I feel very fortunate see my industry from a global perspective and then to be able to apply my knowledge and experience in an industry I admire.