An old friend to the forage industry, John Baylor, 90, passed away May 5. Known at “the Moses of Penn State Agriculture,” he received his Ph.D. from that university and then was hired on as its Extension forage specialist until retiring in 1983.
But Baylor stayed active in the forage industry to the end. He had just finished an oral history of the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) this past summer and made an interesting presentation of a 1904 hay press at the 2012 AFGC annual meeting.
“Today the forage world mourns the loss of true pioneer, leader, and legend,” according to a press release from AFGC. “John's passing leaves an irreplaceable void in forages.”
He was a founder, leader and first president of not only the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, but also the national AFGC. He was a current board member of the Forage and Grassland Foundation, as well as a founder and first president.
Actively involved in the International Grassland Congress, he served as chairman of the highly successful conference held in the U.S. in 1981. A leader in the National Hay Association, Baylor was a featured speaker at its 2012 conference in Naples, FL.
Baylor earned his bachelor’s degree in farm crops from Rutgers University in 1947 after serving three and a half years as a bombardier and gunnery officer during World War II. In 1948, he graduated with a masters from Rutgers and was hired as Extension crops specialist there until 1955, when he furthered his education at Penn State.
After his retirement from his university career, he joined Beachley-Hardy Seed Co. and served as its as director of development until 1991. In 1987, he became executive director of the Atlantic Seedsmen’s Association, a position he held until 2002.
Locally, he was actively involved in the State College Kiwanis Club and the Pasto Agricultural Museum at Penn State, was an avid Lady Lions Basketball fan and was active at State College Presbyterian Church.
Baylor is survived by Henrietta, his wife of 62 years; his two daughters, Sue Colbath (Donald) of Austin, TX, and Martha Trout (Kerry) of State College, PA; as well as two granddaughters, Jillian Keith of Austin, TX, and Kristen Trout of Exeter, NH; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to State College Presbyterian Church or Penn State’s Pasto Agricultural Museum.