Jill Voorhees, a biologist at McNenny State Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, was recently named one of the Top 10 Under 40 Aquaculture Professionals by Hatchery International. Jill was recognized for her research efforts improving hatchery rearing efficiencies and fish performance. Her scientific publications continue to impact fish hatchery operations around the world.

Jill started her career as a student intern at McNenny in 2010, got her first permanent job at Cleghorn Springs State Fish Hatchery a few years later, and then returned to McNenny in 2017. Her research output during her relatively short tenure as an employee of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is unprecedented. She is a lead author or co-author on 24 published articles to date, with more papers soon to be published.

Some examples of her pioneering and influential work include her research on fish exercise during hatchery rearing, which is dramatically changing the long-established rules of trout and salmon rearing. She has been a pioneer in addressing critical occupational safety and health issues in global aquaculture. In addition, her research on the use of plant proteins in fish diets, particularly bio-processed soybean meal, has been a benefit close to home for South Dakota farmers.

Of course, Jill is recognized for more than just research. She is an integral part of the McNenny Hatchery team, and her expertise is an essential part of record-setting hatchery production over the past several years. Her creativity, innovation, willingness to question the status quo, and ability to successfully interact with other professionals all make her an incredible asset to the hatchery and her team.

In 2017, Jill was named Outstanding Performance Award of the Aquatics Section of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. She also received the David Willis Outstanding Young Professional Award from the Dakota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in 2019.

Although still early in her career, Jill has accepted the responsibility to develop future fisheries professionals. Through her positive interactions with students and interns, she is already developing the next aquaculture professional who might be recognized as one of the Top 10 Under 40.

McNenny State Fish Hatchery is located just west of Spearfish, South Dakota. It is owned and operated by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, producing approximately one-half of the trout and salmon stocked into public fishing waters in South Dakota. McNenny Hatchery operations are funded entirely by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and a federal excise tax on fishing equipment.

Jill is the daughter of Glenn Tycz of Tyndall and Michele Gordon of Yankton.