Hoyle Puckett was born October 15, 1925, in Jessup, Georgia, and received a B.S. degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Georgia in 1948 and an M.S. from Michigan State University in 1949. He began a career with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA in 1949 as a project leader at Oxford, North Carolina. Hoyle was assigned leader of the USDA-ARS Automatic Farm Equipment Investigations Project at the University of Illinois in 1955 and joined the faculty of the agricultural engineering department that year. He remained on the faculty throughout his career, retiring in 1985.
Puckett's major research interest was the automation of livestock production systems. That interest led to the development of an automatic feed grinder, a pneumatic conveyor, an electronic silo unloader controller, and several devices for automatic livestock feeding and materials handling systems. His work led to issuance of two patents: a flat-bottom bin unloader and an auger injector for a medium-pressure pneumatic conveyor. His work has also led to authorship of more than a hundred publications on electrical farm equipment and automatic controls. More recently, his research on a system for automatic collection and evaluation of dairy cow production on a day-to-day basis has led to development of the leading laboratory facility for interdisciplinary research on computerized dairy management in the world.
A Fellow of the ASAE, Hoyle received many awards for the excellence of his research. Among these were the Certificate of Merit from the Agricultural Research Service (won twice during his career), the Merit Award from the Illinois Farm Electrification Council, Engineer of the Year from the Illinois-Wisconsin Region of the ASAE, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Food and Energy Council. Alumni remember Hoyle Puckett's analytical approach to solving problems and his ability to separate a complex research task into manageable parts.