Iowa State University Alumni Association

Robert E. Walton Sr. 2016

Henry A. Wallace Award
By the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Robert E. Walton, Sr.

PhD Animal Science ’61
DeForest, Wis.

Robert E. Walton, Sr., retired CEO of American Breeder Service (ABS) and Agracetus, is one of the top agribusiness leaders in the nation and globally renowned for his contributions in genetics research for the dairy, beef, and plant breeding industries.

Walton’s career began as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky in 1958. In 1962, he joined the team at ABS as a geneticist. He served the company, which was later purchased by W.R. Grace, as president beginning in 1967. During his tenure, ABS expanded its business across the globe. In 1987 he also became chairman of Agracetus, the plant breeding research arm of W.R. Grace, until his retirement in 1992.  

While at ABS, Walton developed an indexed mathematical formula for evaluating bulls that revolutionized the animal genetics industry. His formula also was adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1965.

Known as a visionary, progressive, and selfless leader, Walton has served a number of organizations that have benefited from his knowledge on emerging technologies and dedication to the animal agriculture industry ¬— including the National Association of Animal Breeders, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, Wisconsin Rural Opportunity Foundation, and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. Most notably, Walton served 38 years on the board of the World Dairy Expo and holds the distinction as its longest-serving director.

Walton’s contributions have earned him awards and honors from the World Simmental Federation, Dairy Shrine, National Association of Animal Breeders, American Dairy Science Association, Holstein Association USA, Oklahoma State University, and University of Wisconsin.

Walton is a life member of the Iowa State University Alumni Association.


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