John M. Evvard

John Marcus EvvardWhile he was still a small boy, this authority-to-be acquired a tiny calf of his own. Quoting Dr. Evvard, "That calf taught me a thousand things to do and not to do. I have been learning ever since and hope to learn still more."

John Marcus Evvard was born November 6, 1884 at Saunemin, IL. His parents were John B. and Mary E. (Leitel) Evvard. During high school at Pontiac, IL, he was captain of the football team two years and of the basketball team for one year. In track he broke the Illinois Interscholastic hammer throw record in 1902 and the Michigan state record in the shot put, hammer throw and discus in 1904. By the time he finished high school, he had garnered more than 50 medals and cups in athletic events. He was also on the debating team and represented his school in oratorical contests. He earned the B.S. degree in three years at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1907. While at the University of Illinois, he was editor of the agricultural division magazine and a staff member of the student paper the Daily Illini. Dr. Evvard completed the M.S. degree in agriculture from the University of Missouri in 1909. His major professor was H. J. Waters, and the title of his thesis was "The effect of different nutritive planes upon the economy of gain and rate of growth of young cattle." He earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Arizona in 1927. His Ph.D. dissertation was entitled "New feeding standards for growing and fattening swine." On August 10, 1911 Dr. Evvard married Mattie Casey Cooper. Three children were born into this family, Mary Margaret Batman, John Cooper Evvard and Martha Jane Shemer Bobby.

Upon graduation from the University of Illinois with a B.S., Evvard was appointed as an assistant to the dean and director of the Missouri College of Agriculture and Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station from 1907 to 1910. He was in charge of nutritional and research feeding investigations under the direction of Dean H. J. Waters. He joined the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station staff in 1910 as assistant chief in animal husbandry, was named chief of swine production in 1911 to 1930, named chief of animal nutrition from 1914 to 1919, and then was given the responsibility of chief of beef cattle and sheep in 1919 to 1930. He attained the academic rank of associate professor of animal husbandry in 1916 and professor in 1918.

Dr. Evvard's expertise was called upon during World War I to serve as chairman of the Swine Commission, U.S. Food Administration, in 1917 and 1918. He was a member of the U.S. Livestock Industrial Commission in 1917 and 1918. He was a member of the Farmers' Livestock Marketing Commission of 15. He served as a special assistant in the office of the Secretary of Agriculture in 1922-23 and also was on the staff of the American Institute of Agriculture in 1922-23. He was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was a member of the Iowa Academy of Science and the Poultry Science Association. He was a long-time member and served as president (in 1918) of the American Society of Animal Production. Other honorary organization memberships included Alpha Zeta, Sigma Xi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Sigma Delta, Sigma Delta Chi and Lambda Gamma Delta.

At the request of Rural New Yorkers magazine, the Prairie Farmer in 1922 listed the 12 living men or women who had most profoundly influenced the thought and lives of American farmers or American agriculture. John Evvard was included because his extensive swine feeding experiments had established hog feeding methods that became standard throughout the swine belt and added millions of dollars to the profits of hog growers.

On several occasions during the 1920s, Dr. Evvard was compelled to journey to the Southwest in winter because of poor health. He resigned from Iowa State College effective June 1, 1930 and accepted a position as vice president in charge of cattle, sheep and swine for Allied Mills, Inc. This was a new corporation formed by the merger of the American Milling Company, Peoria, IL and the McMillen Company, Fort Wayne, IN. The Evvards continued to live in Ames, and Dr. Evvard was able to provide feed formulation suggestions and conduct business from his home with infrequent commuting to Chicago to meet with company officials. The family left Ames in 1933 and moved to Phoenix, AZ, where Dr. Evvard continued to consult for Allied Mills, Inc. He also served as president of Universal Supply, Inc. from 1933 to 1936 and was professor and head of the Agriculture Department at Arizona State College, Tempe, from 1933 to 1937.

Dr. Evvard is credited with over 1,100 papers that range from the most basic to the applied. He is an author on 13 circular publications, 22 bulletins and 10 research bulletins, all from the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station during 1910 to 1932. Numerous animal husbandry mimeographed reports and leaflets were published during the same period but are no longer available. There are 25 papers in the Proceedings of the A (later changed to the American Society of Animal Production) authored or co-authored by Dr. Evvard during the period 1913 to 1932. He has scientific papers in several other journals (Endocrinology, Am. J. Physiology). He was a regular contributor to The Chester White Journal from 1920 to 1930 and had a question and answer column in each issue of that magazine during the same period. He was a corresponding editor for theFarm and Fireside magazine from 1924 to 1930. His writings included information on breeding and nutrition of cattle, sheep and swine, but they were predominantly on swine nutrition, feeding and management.

His talks in farmer language, before large audiences, were the outstanding feature of the livestock section at the annual Farm and Home Week and Feeder Days held on the Iowa State College campus from 1910 to 1930. His numerous basic, applied and popular writings showed him to be a scholar, a teacher, a researcher and extension worker in addition to being an athlete and a poet. Dr. Evvard was cited and quoted extensively by authors W. W. Smith, W. A. Henry and F. B. Morrison, whose textbooks were widely used in the classroom beginning about 1920. He contributed the chapter on feeding hogs in A. J. Lovejoy's textbook on hogs.

Feed ingredients that he evaluated included yellow corn, corn gluten feed, corn germ meal, hominy meal, corn silage for sows, soybean hay, alfalfa, alfalfa pasture, rape pasture, sweet clover pasture, Canadian peas, red clover pasture, cane molasses and beet molasses. Protein sources such as peanut meal, blood meal, linseed meal, whole soybeans, casein and buttermilk were compared with tankage, which was the swine supplement of choice in the 1910s. He reported on additives of lactic acid, acetic acid, sulfuric acid, sodium bicarbonate and acid-base balance in animal nutrition. Raising orphan pigs commanded his attention for several years and additions of yeast foam, orange juice and tomato juice to the milk formulas were evaluated. Other interesting topics included "hogging down" corn and soybeans, "hogging up" artichokes, the addition of Squaw Creek sand and black loam dirt to feedlot steer diets, and the addition of cod liver oil (bottled sunshine, as he called it to livestock diets). Mineral supplements for growing-finishing pigs and breeding animals received considerable attention by Evvard and his co-workers. Mineral additives such as magnesium sulfate, manganese sulfate, copperas, sodium silicate and sulfur were evaluated. Unusual items such as wood ashes, wood charcoal, arsenic trioxide, fenugreek, poke root, colmobo root, gentian, nux vomica, gaussia, rubia (madder), American worm seed and levant worm seed were include din some of the experimental mineral supplements tested. 

John Marcus Evvard youngAmong Dr. Evvard's many contributions to animal nutrition and management, those that deserve special emphasis are design and statistical methodology in animal experimentation, self-feeding and self-feeders in swine production, recognition of compensatory growth in pigs, development of supplements for corn (particularly, the "Big 10" Supplement), copper as a growth-promoting feed additive for swine and mineral supplementation in livestock production.

In 1927 Dr. Evvard responded to an inquiry from the dean of the College of Agriculture at Washington State on the desirable education for station workers. In addition to stressing a strong background in chemistry, physics, biology, physiology, anatomy, mathematics and technical journalism, Dr. Evvard suggested that statistics be included in the curriculum. Quoting from Dr. Evvard's letters,

"Some years ago we stimulated one of our mathematicians, Professor G. E. Snedecor, to offer a course in Statistical Methods with the dominant idea in mind of conveying vividly to students the various to students the various mathematical methods which may be profitably used in the interpretation of results secured in biological (agricultural) and other sciences. It has been our experience that those students who are well grounded in the subject of Statistical methods of Biometrics have a much wider outlook and keener insight into what their data really mean, and if it is adequate, much more so than those who do not catch the spirit of this wonderfully effective course. Thorough training in Statistical Methods is absolutely imperative for high grade work. "

Pioneering work on experimental design and statistical methods in animal experimentation was carried out jointly by Drs. Evvard and Snedecor. They reported on this work in two papers presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Animal Production in 1927 (Evvard et al., 1925b) and 1928 (Evvard et al., 1929). One of the concluding sentences from their 1928 paper stated, "In our repetition work we have proceeded on the hypothesis that a certain limited number of animals will yield more and better data when fed in many lots and during many years than when handled in larger numbers per lot for a year or two. Five lots of five selected animals each repeated for four years are preferable to five lots of 20 animals each in any one year. Yet 100 animals are used in either case."

In summary of the swine experiments conducted from 1910 to 1930 at the Iowa Station, Evvard (1920a) described several attempts by others to self-feed pigs in the late 1700s and 1800s and a 1909 experiment conducted at the Maryland Station. Evvard's experiments on self-feeding free-choice of pigs began in 1910 when he arrived at Iowa State. According to an article in the Farm and Fireside magazine in December 1924 (Delohery, 1924), there was considerable skepticism that the system would not work. The first experiments compared full hand-feeding of corn and 60% tankage with self-feeding free choice the two ingredients. The improvement in daily gain and improved feed efficiency were consistently in favor of self-feeding. In later pig experiments, comparisons were made between self-feeding and the feeding standards of that day, the Dietrich and Illinois standard, the Kellner standard, and the Wolff-Lohmann standard, the latter of which involved hand-feeding twice daily. Again, the performance of self-fed pigs clearly exceeded that of hand-fed pigs, according to a standard. Free-choice feeding necessitated that single bin self-feeders be expanded to consist of several bins and troughs. Evvard built his first such feeder in 1913 (Delohery, 1924) and later published the plans in an experiment station bulletin (Evvard and Davidson, 1922). The desirable attributes, advantages and disadvantages of the multiple compartment self-feeder described in Research Bulletin 118 (Evvard, 1929a) includes the added advice, "The hog is a physiologyst, not an economist; he eats to suit himself, and corn at 3 cents and corn at $3.00 look all the same to him. In other words, "the hog looks out for himself; not you . . . . Human ingenuity must be exercised in learning what and which feed to place before swine in separate self-feeders to secure optimum results." The learning process led to the development of supplement mixtures in which the pigs exhibited a surprising ability to balance their own rations. One of Evvard's original mixtures consisted of 50% tankage, 25% corn oil cake and 25% alfalfa meal. Linseed oil meal was substituted for the corn oil cake by Russell and Morrison (1923) and became known through the swine world at "Trinity Mix." Experimental work on supplemental mixtures was pursued by Evvard, and in 1926 a mixture containing five protein source and five mineral source ingredients fed free-choice to pigs proved to consistently out-perform tankage only or Trinity Mix. C. C. Culbertson was working with Evvard at the time and he suggested the name "Big 10." Big 10 supplement was later used as a positive control to evaluate commercial supplements being sold in Iowa. Claims of magical qualities, feed manufacturers were to learn, were exploded in these trials, and the sale of "gold bricks" in feed sacks in Iowa was strongly discouraged."

Compensatory growth was observed by Evvard (1917) in the early self-feeding trials; however, no specific work was conducted on the phenomenon. His summary contained the statement, "Pigs that are 'held back' or retarded in their growth (providing the retardation is not too severe) may 'catch up' in weight later if nutritive conditions are abundantly improved.'"

About the same time that Hart, Steenbock, Waddell and Elvehjem (1928) reported that copper was essential for hemoglobin regeneration in rats, Evvard et al. (1928a) found that levels much higher than those now considered to be nutritional produced a growth response in rats and pigs. Several additional studies were in progress according to Dr. Evvard's writing inThe Chester White Journal (Evvard, 1928a). These were never reported, presumably because this was about the same time he developed poor health. He suggested that no more than .1% copper sulfate shouldbe included in pig diets, which is the level commonly used for growth promotion today.

Free-choice mineral supplementation for pigs, cattle and sheep received major research emphasis by Dr. Evvard during 1920 to 1925. His popular articles extolled the virtues of a "backgone" mineral mixture than contained salt (Evvard's "white gold"), limestone, spent bone black and potassium iodide. Several years of work on the last mineral was summarized by Evvard (1928b) in a paper presented to the Association for the Study of Internal Secretions. Although newborn hairless pigs were not observed at the Iowa Station, newborn goitrous lambs were commonplace. The 10% improvement in weight gain and feed conversion by growing-finishing pigs fed iodine convinced Evvard that this element was justified in his recommended mineral mixture. Because salt was a mineral most likely to be fed to livestock in those days, Dr. Evvard suggested that this would be an ideal carrier for iodine. (Evvard and Culbertson, 1925).

To complete the story on Dr. Evvard, the following items are included to give us some insight into this man's personality during those productive research years from 1910 to 1930.

There must have been some strained relations on the Iowa State College campus and nationally as well during 1913. At the November 30, 1912 Chicago meeting of the American Society of Animal Nutrition (as it was then called), new officers were elected. C. F. Curtiss, then dean of agriculture at Iowa State, was elected president. The organization also adopted a new constitution and changed the name of the organization to the American Society of Animal Production with expanded membership invitations to all persons involved in large farm animal investigation or instruction in animal production in the United States and Canada. According to Briggs (1958), C. F. Curtiss insisted that the annual meeting be a social function to be held during the Chicago International Livestock Exposition. On December 3, 1913, Vice President E. B. Forbes, a charter member of the Society, who believed the group had a more serious professional purpose, called a "protest" meeting. The official minutes give no indication that President Curtiss was present. At that meeting, four papers were presented by E. B. Forbes, John M. Evvard, F. G. King and W. A. Cochel. Surely these men went to Chicago that year with prepared papers. Ultimately compromise must have prevailed for, at one of those early annual meetings, the treasurer's report reveals an expenditure of $17.25 for after-dinner cigars at the November 24, 1925, annual meeting (Sheets, 1927).

Milton H. Knudsen (1921), one of Dr. Evvard's graduate students, conducted an experiment on mineral supplementation for pregnant sows. In the first replication (a later replication was to follow), sows from one of the treatments farrowed 93% more pigs and 48% more live pigs than the corn plus tankage control sows. This was advertised by a feed company, and a copy of the ad found its way to Evvard's desk. We are speculating, but a circular (Evvard, 1921) must have obtained fast-track approval. Quoting from the circular, "The Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station has no knowledge of the ingredients and no responsibility for the mineral mixtures put out by any commercial firm. The names 'Ames College Mineral Mixture' has never been authorized, and its use commercially is forbidden. Some results, purporting to have come from the Iowa State College as official, were put out by a graduate student, without authorization or official approval, and the presentation of these and all other purported results of this nature, is repudiated by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station as misleading and inaccurate."

It is said that Dr. Evvard could talk the farmers' language, and it was not unusual for 1,000 to 1,500 people to arrive on campus for the annual livestock days. A good example of his written word for popular consumption is contained in a Morton Salt Company (Evvard, 1929b) publication promoting the use of iodized salt. The information was presented as a story of a visit to the Will Progress farm. Shure Progress was the son, and Full Progress, "the winsome, charming daughter of seventeen summers." The Progress family had invited their neighbors over for a visit, Anton Skeptic, and his wife Kinda Skeptic, their son Knott Skeptic, and daughter Maybee Skeptic, "A vivacious soul, animated, spirited, and intelligent," to listen to the story on iodine by The Answer. Presenting research results in story-like fashion surely must have caught the attention of livestock producers.

Along with the summaries of experimental results that were published as circulars, there were at times words of advice to ensure success in the hog business. As quoted from Circular No. 26 (Evvard and Pew, 1916), "To be most successful in the swine business one must like it, put his heart into it, yes, and to live with it."

Evvard's sense of humor emerges from a poem found among some of the old correspondence files. The following was sent to him by Dr. L. J. Cole of Wisconsin on April 12, 1924 from an unknown author, but it was given a title by Evvard. Both Cole and Evvard were on leave from their colleges in 1923 working for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Henry C. Wallace.


The Dignity of the Pig

How well do I remember
T'was on a bleak December 
I was walking down the street with manly pride 
My heart got in a flutter 
and I lay down in a gutter 
And a pig came up and lay down by my side

As I lay there in that gutter 
With my heart all in a flutter 
A lady passing by was heard to say 
You can tell a man that boozes 
By the company that he chooses 
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.


Dr. Evvard enjoyed poetry. In February 1922, because of poor health, he took a leave of absence to spend several weeks in Arizona. He was writing a regular series of articles for The Chester White Journal at the time. For the July issue, he wrote a poem entitled So It Goes about the heat and desert of Arizona in the summertime (Evvard, 1922).

Dr. Evvard also authored poems entitled, "Mosquitoes", which he wrote on a camping trip, and "Plough On My Son, Plow On", thought to have been written for his son while Evvard was in Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD, in December 1929.

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