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George Colvin Humphrey | 1935

Beloved dairy scientist and innovator in animal nutrition with his "single grain" feeding experiments at the University of Wisconsin.

1875-1947 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)

Impact & Accomplishments

Born in Lenawee County, Michigan, George Humphrey graduated from the State Agricultural College of Michigan in 1901 and began teaching there after graduation.

In 1903, he accepted the position of chairman of the Department of Animal Husbandry at the University of Wisconsin, where he helped establish the strong dairy traditions of the state. From 1938 to 1942, he was professor of dairy husbandry. Professor Humphrey was active in single-grain feeding experiments and extensive studies on the influence of feed on the quality of milk, mutton, and wool.

He was an internationally recognized dairy judge. Elected president of the American Society of Animal Production in 1933, Humphrey was honored at the Saddle & Sirloin Club in 1935, with a copy of his portrait presented to the University of Wisconsin’s Agricultural Hall the following year.

Did You Know?

Humphrey was part of the team of scientists at University of Wisconsin that conducted the groundbreaking “single-grain experiment” from 1907 to 1911, determining that cows were healthier when they ate only corn instead of wheat, oats, or a combination of the three. The team’s work led to the development of the field of nutritional science.

"In recognition of faithful service and in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of his founding of the first county breeders association in Wisconsin, this testimonial is presented to GEORGE C. HUMPHREY for his vision that has made possible our association developments, for his teaching that has improved our rural homes, for his council that has brought forth rural leaders and for his ideals which have moulded the character and builded the citizenship of all who come in contact with him." - George McKerrow, Wisconsin Guerney Breeders Association 2/4/31

Sheetmetal bucket with wooden handle used to collect cow manure during nutrition experiments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1907-1911. These experiments overturned the conventional wisdom regarding animal nutrition and paved the way for the discovery of vitamins. Photo credit: Wisconsin Historical Society. (Museum object #1992.103)

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