Ag industry mourns loss of Neogen founder James Herbert

Herbert credited with helping to set Advanced Animal Diagnostics up for success
calendar icon 2 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

With sadness, AAD announced that its influential board member and investor James Herbert has died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 83. Herbert is pictured above with his wife Judi; both were University of Tennessee alumni (photo courtesy of University of Tennessee).

Herbert joined AAD's board in February 2021 after first making an investment in the company. Under his guidance, AAD recreated itself to consist of sister companies Advanced Animal Diagnostics, an animal diagnostics and data systems company, and Ad Astra Diagnostics, which is focused on human point-of-care diagnostics.

Mr. James Herbert. Photo courtesy of AAD.

Herbert was the retired founder, CEO and chairman of Lansing, Michigan-based Neogen Corporation. Herbert guided Neogen from its founding in 1982 to more than $400 million in annual revenues and a market capitalization of more than $4 billion. Under Herbert's leadership, Neogen's portfolio of products and services grew to include innovative food safety and human diagnostics, animal health products, and animal genomics services.

"He was a great example for and avid supporter of entrepreneurs," said Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO of both AAD companies. "Mr. Herbert lived what we are working very hard to accomplish at AAD, and he provided us with the invaluable guidance we needed to position ourselves to succeed. At once, he was an investor, Texas cattle rancher, CEO of a company that produces animal and human diagnostics, and a board member of a large health system that consists of several hospitals. He was the perfect person at the perfect time for AAD. His memory and contributions will endure forever."

​Herbert was a board member and with his wife, Judi, major donors of Lansing-based Sparrow, which includes the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center. Parr Drach credited Herbert with providing critical assistance in validating AAD’s human diagnostics in real-world environments.

​"A lot of the early work in proving our products was done at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing because of Mr. Herbert," she said. "There, we learned we could improve the patient care and provider experience, often in very difficult and emotional situations, by quickly providing accurate diagnostic results patient-side. Mr. Herbert believed in what we could accomplish and was instrumental in helping us prove it," said Parr Drach. 

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