Award Year

Gene Leman, from Dakota Dunes SD, credits 4-H with providing him an opportunity to learn many practical lessons, including livestock management, record keeping, and public speaking. This ultimately led to a degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois and a 42 year career in the meat industry.


Gene retired in 2006 as senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc, a part of Tyson Foods. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the company's fresh meats business. During his career with Tyson, and before that IBP (which was purchased by Tyson in 2001), Gene superheaded a number of industry changes and company succeses.

Gene grew up on the family's cattle and hog operation in Eureka and was an active member of the Busy Beavers 4-H Club in Wookford County for eight years. Active in his community, Gene has been generous with his time by serving on numberous boards and committees and helping to raise funds for many worthwhile causes.