ROSEBURG, Ore. — For his years of sharing about the science of forages, soils and pastures, Woody Lane was recently presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Douglas County Livestock Association.
Lane has been an educator in the livestock industry since moving to the Roseburg area in 1990 and establishing Lane Livestock Services.
He has been key in organizing the Umpqua Valley Forage Study Group, the Forage and Nutrition Group along Oregon’s south coast and the Willamette Valley Grazing and Nutrition Group.
“The goal is to improve our management on forage-based ranches, to increase profitability and sustainability on forage-based ranches,” he said. “We share information, experiences, new techniques. We want to build on what we know. That’s what we do.
“Knowledge is power,” he added. “The more we know gives us a better chance at making good decisions.”
Lane admitted he was surprised when he was informed he was to be a recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award.
“To have the folks in the livestock association think that my work and what I try to do is important to them is flattering,” he said. “I’m honored to receive the award. It’s a great honor.”
Lane earned his master’s degree and his Ph.D. in animal nutrition from Cornell University in New York.
The livestock nutrition and forage specialist has conducted hundreds of classes on forage management in southwestern Oregon, in other western states and in most of the Canadian provinces. He’s been a guest presenter at numerous national and international workshops and has written many magazine articles and several books on his specialty. He has another book, “Capturing Sunlight,” due out within the next couple of months.
The three study groups he helped establish and now facilitates have 18 to 28 farm or ranch members in each. The total number of monthly meetings or field trips that the three groups have held is 646.
“Having the members get together and share what they’re doing on their places helps the others make better decisions for their own places,” Lane said.
Diane Swingley Huebner, who has a small Angus operation on a century farm near Days Creek, Ore., is a charter member of the Umpqua Valley Forage Study Group. She presented the award to Lane at the Douglas County Livestock Association’s annual dinner meeting.
“His life is the very definition of a pioneer,” Huebner said of Lane. “He enriches that definition by energetically and passionately teaching the science of ruminant nutrition, forages, soil health, grazing and pasture management, all with the focus on profitability. He delights in watching us apply that science successfully, most of the time, to our soils.”
Lane has scheduled numerous outside expert speakers to present their views and knowledge at the meetings of the study groups.
Bill Hoyt, who runs cattle and sheep on both sides of the Douglas-Lane county line, credits Lane with starting the study groups. Hoyt is a member of the Umpqua Valley group. He said the groups are unique because the members are willing to share.
“Unlike many agricultural areas where there’s not a lot of sharing of information, people here are readily willing to talk about their successes and failures, what they’ve tried that has worked and not worked,” he said. “It’s a continuing educational experience.”
Lane said his goal is to help livestock producers with their pasture-based operations because he thinks that is the most ethical and appropriate way of raising ruminants.
“I want those producers and their grass-based operations to stay in business, to thrive and to feel very good about how they go about it,” he said.