Robert Brewer, Former Department Head, Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University

Robert N. Brewer

Bob Brewer was reared in Phil Campbell, Alabama, where he graduated from high school in 1952. He received a bachelor of science degree from Auburn in 1955 and began his career as an assistant county agent in Coosa and Talladega counties. While working on a master’s degree, Brewer worked with Dr. S. Allen Edgar on the poultry research farm at Auburn.

In 1961, Brewer entered the private sector, working with Pillsbury Company in Cullman, Alabama, as its poultry health and management specialist. He left Cullman four years later to complete his doctorate from the University of Georgia. He returned to Auburn University in 1968 as an assistant professor of poultry science, beginning what would be a 32-year career in the department.

Brewer’s areas of interest and research included control of parasites in commercial poultry, improved energy management in broiler houses, and best management practices for intensive broiler production, which is the cornerstone of Alabama’s poultry industry. He was appointed head of the poultry science department in 1987 and served in that role until his retirement in 2001.

During Brewer’s tenure as department head, student enrollment in the poultry science department rose from less than 20 to a peak of 82 in 1998. He was instrumental in establishing six scholarship endowments at Auburn University and two with the Alabama Poultry Foundation. In addition to building the department’s teaching programs, Brewer enhanced its research and extension efforts by increasing the number of faculty and specialist positions to provide the expertise needed in the industry.

Brewer’s crowning achievement was the Poultry Science Building, an 85,000-square-foot research, classroom, and office facility on the Auburn campus. He partnered with Alabama’s poultry industry leaders, Auburn administrators, and government agencies to develop the concept, secure funding, and follow through on completion of the facility.

Brewer and his wife, the former Martha Jane Cummings, have a son, Robert N., Jr., two grandsons, Clay and Chris, and three great-grandsons, Ryan, Derek, and Jarod.