Jess A. Hanson was born on October 21, 1887 in Warren, Ohio. While studying agriculture at the University of Missouri, he became interested in the poultry industry. Hanson moved to Oregon in 1911 to work with James A. Dryden of the Oregon Agricultural College Poultry Husbandry Department.
In 1913 he began his own poultry breeding business on a 30-acre farm close to the OAC campus. The operation was very successful, consisting of 350 acres by the time Hanson retired in 1966. Hanson's Leghorn chickens won many egg laying contests over the years. His pen at the Storrs (Connecticut) contest in 1928/29 set a new world's record and established Hanson as a pre-eminent breeder of chickens for egg production. During his fifty year career, Hanson's Leghorns won over 100 contest awards and set at least 21 world records.
Hanson married Lora Milam, sister of OAC Home Economics Dean Ava Milam, in 1914. They had two children, Elinor and Richard M. After Lora Hanson's death in 1961, Jess married Florence Satchwell. In 1936 Hanson received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Oregon State College, later established the J.A. Hanson Scholarship in poultry science at OSU, and was elected to the Oregon Poultry Hall of Fame in 1971. He died in 1978.
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