Award Year

Dr. Phillip E. Kaufman is an associate professor of veterinary entomology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Kaufman received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Illinois. He went on to earn his master’s in entomology at the University of Wisconsin and his Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Wyoming. He also served as a research associate at Cornell University.


Kaufman grew up in Morris, Illinois and was a 10-year member of the Morris Mix Up and Saratoga Ag clubs in Grundy County. During his time in 4-H, Kaufman was involved in a wide variety of projects and exhibited and earned several awards in entomology, now his chosen profession. He also served on a number of committees as well as the 4-H Federation, and was a county junior leader for two years.

While working at Cornell University, Kaufman participated in AgStravaganza, a yearly program where all 4th grade students and 4-H members in Cortland County, New York, were invited through their schools to attend a 2-day event that introduced students to farm life. He hosted a booth that taught youth about insects that affect livestock. This hands-on event hosted hundreds of students each year. He also returned to Grundy County in the late ‘90s to conduct several entomology workshops for more than 50 4-H members and leaders.

Today Kaufman is the only veterinary entomologist in the Florida university system. He is responsible for the pests associated with Florida’s livestock and horse commodities, a mixture that represents over $3 billion in value and well over $7 billion in impact to the state annually. He manages over $6 million dollars in grants, three laboratories, numerous graduate students, and serves as a faculty mentor for new staff members.

Kaufman said, “The entomology projects I exhibited at the Illinois State Fair led to my choice of undergraduate and graduate work in college. Through the opportunities that Illinois 4-H provided me, I was able to discover and explore future interests and develop life-long friendships that have molded my life and career.”