Abe Aberle honored for lifetime contributions to the meat industry

Elton “Abe” Aberle, CALS Dean Emeritus, will receive the R.C. Pollock Award from the American Meat Science Association on June 24. The award honors a dedicated AMSA member whose work through teaching, extension, research or service represents an extraordinary and lasting contribution to the meat industry. It is presented in honor of the first general manager of the National Live Stock and Meat Board.

The AMSA compiled the following profile of Abe Aberle for the program of its awards banquet.

Dr. Elton D. Aberle is a native of Kansas and received his B.S. degree in agriculture from Kansas State University in 1962. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in food science from Michigan State University in 1965 and1967 respectively. Aberle is a member of numerous honorary societies, including Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi.

At Purdue University he held a joint teaching and research appointment for seventeen years. His teaching responsibilities included meat science and muscle biology, animal growth and development, carcass and live animal evaluation, and food chemistry. Author or co-author of 62 refereed journal articles and 44 abstracts in addition to miscellaneous and invited papers and publications, Aberle was voted outstanding teacher in Food Science at Purdue University in 1973, 1975, 1978, and 1979 and outstanding teacher and counselor in Animal Science in 1981 and 1983.

Aberle resided at University of Nebraska from 1983 to 1998. During his time there, he resumed the duties of Department of Animal Science Professor and then later Department Head. He taught both undergraduate and graduate seminars.

Aberle’s significant contributions to meat science research are too numerous to mention individually; however, his work in the areas of growth and development, research methodology, relationship of growth status of animals to meat tenderness, collagen biochemistry and various areas of applied research are of particular note. His research findings have furthered the understanding of meat tenderness, meat rancidity, pre-rigor meat processing, bacon quality, protein synthesis and rates of animal growth. His unique varied experience of research within the meat science industry allowed him to co-author the book Principles of Meat Science.

Although Aberle has always had a strong passion for animal and meat sciences, his career found him in more of a leadership path when he accepted the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean and Director position at University of Wisconsin-Madison. After seven years as dean and director, Aberle now holds the duties as Emeritus Dean, still providing his thoughtfulness, wisdom and passion for animal agriculture to students and faculty as needed.

His contributions to the American Meat Science Association are numerous, including membership on the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Reciprocal Meat Conference, and President of AMSA. Aberle received the Signal Service Award in 1991, Distinguished Teaching Award in 1983, and Distinguished Research Award in 1986. Also, Aberle served as the American Society of Animal Science President and on numerous committees. He was the recipient of the American Society of Animal Science Meat Research Award in 1982 and the American Meat Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 1983.

Other leadership positions Aberle has held include Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Board of Directors, Intersociety Council President, National Swine Improvement Federation Board of Directors, and Great Plains Agricultural Council Range and Livestock Committee. He has received numerous other achievements during his tenure as a scientist and agriculturist including the American Association for the Advancement of Science—Fellow in 2003 and the induction to the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement in 1998.