For Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) member Jana Malot and her husband, Clem, the farming tradition dates back three long and eventful centuries. Both their families can trace their ties to agriculture all the way back to the 1700’s. “Clem’s farm was continuously run by his family on the same land back into the 1700’s,” she said. “My family has been in agriculture for the same amount of time. My grandfather was a sawyer and thrasher man, today’s custom farmer, across the same county in Pennsylvania. I operate the farm where I grew up. It was a dairy farm until I was 13 years old when my father transitioned it into a cow/calf, swine and cattle feeding operation. Clem’s family’s land was always grain, some livestock and a huge timber and grain milling operation.”
Along with her husband and grandson, Jadin, they still run the family farms in the heart of Pennsylvania’s still rich farm country. In the entrepreneurial spirit, they operate Uncle Clem's Place, too, a farm vacation bed-and-breakfast that is housed in one of the old family farmsteads, offering a farm and vacation experience for urban dwellers from nearby cities like Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.
"Our guests can work the place 'hands-on' with us or just set back and relax," said Malot. "We also do weddings, parades, funerals, parties, pony rides, trail rides and camp trips with our equine. We host youth groups, too. We just had a troop of Boy Scouts here who were working on their animal science merit badge."
Not long ago, Jana retired from the USDA's National Resource Conservation Service, giving her time to expand their pasture to incorporate year-round grazing. It's something with which she can claim well-earned and recognized expertise. She spent most of her career working on forage and grassland issues and has been recognized often for her leadership role.
Recently, she was awarded the Pennsylvania Forage & Grassland Council’s Special Award. She's also been given an Award of Appreciation for Exemplary Assistance to the National Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative in the conduct of the fourth National Grazing Conference in 2009.
Malot said one of the greatest honors given to her during her career was being selected as the Penn State Department of Dairy and Animal Science’s (DAS) Animal Science Distinguished Alumnus for 2012. She was the first woman to receive the honor which had been given to a long list of very distinguished industry legends such as 'Mick' Colvin, founder of Certified Angus Beef and an inaugural member of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.
Talking about the honor, Dr. Terry Etherton, head of Penn State's DAS, said, “Jana has made significant contributions throughout her career which will have a lasting impact on agriculture both in Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast. This honor recognizes her strong leadership in conservation and grassland development. She continues to provide passionate and caring leadership, and I offer my deepest congratulations to her.”
"I have a passion for making the world a better place," she said as she explained to me why she works so hard at her craft. "The land was given to us to manage; we don't own it. We have to make it better before we pass it on to the next generation."
Like most CBB members, Malot works hardest at giving back. She's a past board member and president of the Penn State Stockmen’s Club and a past member and director of the PA Forage & Grassland Council. She serves as a board member and past treasurer of the American Forage & Grassland Council and is a member of the Society for Range Management. She's served as technical advisor to the North East Pasture Consortium and the PA Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. She's a member of the Penn State Ag Council and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. She's also been a 4-H leader and FFA advisor.
And, as of early this year, she's a CBB member. "I had just retired when I was asked and was interested in learning more about the other side of the beef industry. If I was going to be involved in such an important organization, I wanted to be all in."
"I'm enjoying my time with the CBB," she said. "I like seeing how they've made a difference, how their research has shown a more positive view of beef and how they work to educate consumers as well as our own people. Producers get back more than $11 for every dollar they spend. It's a great investment."