Fifty-three years ago, John Baylor was a young man enthusiastic about the forage industry. Just hired as Penn State’s first full-time forage specialist, Baylor realized the need for an organization that would inform and educate farmers about the forage and livestock industry.

Within three years – in 1960 – he and colleagues had formed the Pennsylvania Grassland Council, the precursor to the Pennsylvania Forage & Grassland Council (PFGC) that would become the first state affiliate of the American Forage & Grassland (AFGC). Today, Baylor’s equally enthusiastic as he and the PFGC celebrate its 50th anniversary on Nov. 23 at the Shady Maple Banquet and Conference Center, East Earl, 3 miles east of New Holland.

“I finished the 50-year history that we are going to provide at the celebration,” says Baylor, who was the first president of the state organization and its executive vice president until a year after his retirement in 1983. “All we need now is the right kind of weather and the right kind of crowd.”

If the lineup of speakers is any indication, that crowd will consist of dairymen and growers who want hints on how to stay profitable during these challenging economic times.

International-known forage specialist Garry Lacefield, from the University of Kentucky; grazing guru Dave Forgey of Logansport, IN; and well-known grower and past National Hay Association and AFGC president, Ron Tombaugh, Streeter, IL, will speak on keys to forage, grazing and hay profitability, respectively.

Keynote speakers will be state Secretary of Agriculture Russ Redding and Steve Larson, Hoard’s Dairyman managing editor. Larson will talk about the importance of forages to agriculture.

“Research is Key to Continued Forage Profitability” is the name of the presentation to be given by Neal Martin, USDA-U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center director. Paul Knight, host of TV’s Weather World, will discuss the weather and its potential harm to growers’ profitability. The future of forages, the American Forage and Grassland Council and the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council is Bob Hendershot’s topic. He’s current AFGC president.

A lunch, annual meeting and awards program will also be a part of the celebration. The conference cost is $35, which includes lunch. For more information, contact Marvin Hall at 814-863-1019 or mhh2@psu.edu or Richard Hann at 717-832-0127 or hammr54@comcast.net.