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Department of Animal Sciences


2016 Animal Science Hall of Fame

Mr. Terry Wehrkamp

The Ohio State University

2016 Animal Science Hall of Fame

Distinguished Alumnus

Terry Wehrkamp grew up in Smithville, Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1982. He went to California for three years to work for Foster Farms, at that time the largest broiler and turkey producer on the west coast.  In 1985, he returned to Ohio to work for Cooper Farms in their turkey breeder/hatchery division. The turkey division now produces over 200 million pounds of turkey per year, almost all of which is further processed in their cooking facility in Van Wert. Cooper Farms has also evolved into one of the largest vertically integrated swine and egg producing companies in the Midwest. They have been in the swine business for approximately 20 years and will soon become a partner in a new swine processing plant in southern Michigan. Their most recent venture was the acquisition of Ft. Recovery Equity, one of Ohio’s largest egg producers. At the same time, they acquired an egg breaking plant (liquid egg products) so they now have a significant presence in three of the largest segments of animal agriculture in Ohio. 

As Cooper Farms has grown and become involved in new ventures, Terry Wehrkamp has been asked to assume increased responsibilities within the company. Terry is the overall Director of Live Production for the turkey, hog, and layer divisions as well as overseeing the Feed Division. His leadership style could best be described as servant leadership, where the servant-leader empowers employees and facilitates the growth and development of those who work for him. 

While his career at Cooper Farms has been impressive, what sets Terry apart from other successful individuals is his willingness to give freely of his time to outside organizations at the state, regional, and community level. This involvement ranges from professional boards (Ohio Poultry Association) to educational opportunities for future animal scientists (Midwest Poultry Consortium Board) to extensive involvement within the Defiance, OH community where he lives. This includes serving on the boards of the local library and farm bureau chapter.  He also gives freely of his time and expertise to OSU animal science students in the form of invited lectures in a number of different classes in the Animal Sciences Department. Last, but not least, have been the individual student support opportunities he has facilitated in the form of internships at Cooper Farms. This includes regular Animal Sciences students as well as those students who take the Midwest Consortium poultry courses each summer.