A 50-year history of the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council shows the organization's commitment to state forage growers and dairy producers.

Pennsylvania Forage & Grassland Council: 50 Years of Achievement, is a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2", 124-page book filled with names, photos and stories about how the group began providing silage and hay shows, field days and programs to foster good production habits and increase forage quality.

It was written by John Baylor, hired in 1957 as the first fulltime Extension forage specialist at Pennsylvania State University. Three years later, 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).

"The motto of our program was 'Farmers, industry, educators - working together for better forage programs,' " says Baylor, who spent much of the past year and a half updating the 40-year history of the organization that he'd written years earlier.

"The early emphasis was on harvested forages, silage and hay - harvesting, storage and feeding problems. More recently, in the 1980s, the emphasis on harvested forages continued to be important, not only in Pennsylvania, but nationally.

"But there was a renewed interest in pasture - the utilization of pasture in dairy livestock program. So the last 20 years of the PFGC program, our program under the direction of Dr. Marvin Hall, who is forage specialist and executive vice president of PFGC, there was an increased emphasis on grazing: the potential of grazing and the cooperation with other organizations to intensify the management of grazing in the forage program."

The book will be a part of the PFGC's 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 23 at the Shady Maple Banquet and Conference Center, East Earl, three miles east of New Holland. It will be given to guests attending; a limited number of copies will be available for purchase, at a nominal fee, through the PFGC.

But the celebration won't look backward. Speakers during the day-long even will offer dairymen and growers 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. Neal Martin, USDA-U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center director, will discuss how research translates into profitabiity and Paul Knight, host of TV’s Weather World, will discuss the weather and its potential harm to growers’ profitability. Current American Forage and Grassland Council President Bob Hendershot will talk about the future of forages, AFGC and PFGC.

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.