A Neligh native plans to retire as the state veterinarian at the end of the year.
The retirement of Dr. Dennis Hughes, the son of the late Gordon and Nadene Hughes, was recently announced by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). His final day with the NDA will be Dec. 30.
“As state veterinarian, Dr. Hughes has been instrumental in keeping Nebraska livestock healthy and the state’s agricultural industry strong,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “We want to thank Dr. Hughes for his years in public service and for his leadership at the state and national level. His dedication to agriculture and the livestock and poultry industry will be remembered.”
Hughes graduated from Neligh-Oakdale in 1973, and earned his degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before his D.V.M. from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
After graduation, he returned to Northeast Nebraska and practiced in the Creighton and Battle Creek areas. Dr. Hughes became a veterinary field officer for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture in 1990, following his private practice days, covering 18 counties of Northeast Nebraska. In 2005, he was named the Nebraska State Veterinarian and served in that role for nearly 17 years.
“It’s been a wild and crazy ride with lots of ‘disease adventures’ we’ve had to eradicate or mitigate in my career—too many to offer details or explain,” Dr. Hughes said.
During his tenure at NDA, Dr. Hughes enforced state and federal livestock programs and became proficient in animal disease diagnostics. As a field veterinarian, Hughes was instrumental in the eradication of pseudorabies and brucellosis from Nebraska swine and cattle herds.
As Nebraska state veterinarian, Dr. Hughes led several animal disease response events of concern to the livestock and poultry industry including avian influenza and bovine tuberculosis.
During his more than 30 years of employment with NDA, Dr. Hughes served as a member of the Livestock Emergency Disease Response System Veterinary Corps, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association, the National Association of State Animal Health Officials, and the United States Animal Health Association, Deputy State Veterinarian Dr.