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2016 Wall of Fame Inductee -- Mr. Steve Thomas

Steven Dale Thomas

Steven (Steve) Dale Thomas was born March 25, 1957 in the little community of Caddo in the northeast section of Pendleton County. He attended Mt. Auburn elementary school and Pendleton Memorial High School where he graduated President of his class in 1975.

Steve enrolled in the University of Kentucky where he majored in Agriculture Economic. He graduated in 1979 and at graduation won the coveted Sullivan Medallion, awarded to two graduating seniors. Steve was actively involved in FarmHouse fraternity while in college. He went on to complete his Master’s Degree in 1980 in Agriculture Education.

After graduation Steve’s first job was with the Ohio Farm Bureau where he served as an Organization Director for three years. Steve was heavily involved in local and state political action activities serving rural areas in southern Ohio.

In 1983 Steve took a job with Griffin industries and moved back to Pendleton County. It was here he was given the opportunity to utilize his interest in agriculture as well as the experiences he had on the family farm utilizing and recycling resources.

Steve quickly began working to develop programs and products to service agricultural demand utilizing waste products from the food industry. While at Griffin he developed a delivery system to service farmers directly with a high energy feed supplement made from waste cooking oils and rendered fats. He developed a bypass protein product for dairy cows from rendered animal proteins. He holds a patent for development of a baby pig feed where enzymes digest animal proteins in to a highly digestible supplement for the infant piglet.

In addition to the animal feed development Steve developed an organic fertilizer branded Nature Safe. Nature Safe fertilizer became the number one selling organic fertilizer in the golf course industry and today is fertilizing millions of acres of organic crops and produce across the United States.

These fertilizers and feeds utilize coproducts of the food industry that would otherwise be landfilled. The products and developments Steve has been involved in has had a huge impact on the sustainability efforts of our society today.

Today Steve is Vice President of Protein Business Development & Specialty Ingredients for Darling Ingredients. Darling is a worldwide leader in recycling food waste into feed, fuel, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. Darling operates over 200 facilities on 5 continents. Steve’s current emphasis is on development of specialty ingredients for the Pet food industry.

While living in Pendleton County Steve has served on the Fair Board, Chamber of Commerce, Athletic Park Board, Recreation Committee, Wool Festival Chairman and Pendleton County School Board where he was chairman for 10 years. He attends Concord Methodist Church and has been active in the spiritual community of the county for many years sharing music and song.

Steve and his family have also developed an active quarter horse farm where they breed, raise, and train contest horses. Steve is also on the board and president of the National Pole Bending Association.

Steve is married to his high school sweetheart, Patti Buckley. They have two sons and their families reside in Pendleton County.





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