Jana Malot Named DAS Animal Science Distinguished Alumnus
Alumnus for 2012. She will be honored during the Little I/Dairy Expo weekend on April 13 and 14 at University Park.
A native of Fulton County, Malot earned her B.S. degree from Penn State in 1978 in animal production. She retired from USDA NRCS in 2011 after a 30-year career, during which she greatly influenced expanded conservation and grazing programs.
While at Penn State, she was an active member of the Block & Bridle Club, showing in three Little I’s and winning the Champion Horse Showman award at the 1977 Little I. She was a member of the Coaly Society, a member of successful livestock and horse judging teams and served as a student employee at the Penn State Horse Farm during her senior year.
Dr. Terry Etherton, head of 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.”
Malot said, “This is quite an honor and I find it super humbling to be the first female recognized in a long list of distinguished recipients.” She added that conservation has been her life’s work and a way of life, having been exposed to it as a young child when her father used the Soil Conservation Service to develop contour stripcropping, waterways and a conservation farm plan.
She began her career as a conservation technician in Bedford and Fulton counties, moving to Armstrong County in 1982 as a soil conservationist.
In 1989 she returned to Fulton County as the district conservationist, and from 2002 to 2004 she served as Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) coordinator for the Northeastern portion of the United States, during which time she assisted the state grassland specialist for Pennsylvania in expanding grazing programs in Pennsylvania.
Part of her responsibilities were to work with a special team writing the rules for the Grassland Reserve program that became part of the 2002 farm bill. She also served as state grassland conservationist for the Pennsylvania USDA NRCS. She was responsible each year for the grazing exhibit at Ag Progress Days, hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.
Malot has received numerous awards throughout her career, including, most recently, the Pa Forage & Grassland Council’s Special Award in 2010, the highest award given; the Award of Appreciation for Exemplary Assistance to the National Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative in the conduct of the fourth National Grazing Conference in 2009; and the Letterkenny Army Depot Appreciation Award for volunteer assistance with the annual Armed Forces Day program for which she supplied horse/pony rides, something she has done for seven years.
Malot is a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association and is a member, past board member and past president of the Penn State Stockmen’s Club. She serves as treasurer and a board member of the American Forage & Grassland Council, a past board member of the PA Forage & Grassland Council, a member of the Society for Range Management, and served as past technical advisor to both the North East Pasture Consortium and the PA Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.
She currently serves as second vice president of the PA Livestock Association, is a director of the PA Cattlemen’s Association and is a member of the National Cattleman’s Association, the PA and American Shorthorn Associations, the PA Draft Horse & Mule Association and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. She serves as volunteer and technical advisor to the Fulton County Fair Association, and was formerly a 4- H leader and FFA adviser.
Malot and her husband Clem, daughter Alicia Schooley and grandson Jadin, 8, operate a grass-based farm in Fulton County, and operate a bed & breakfast, Uncle Clem’s Place, with a farm vacation emphasis. Their grazing operation consists of 300 acres of pasture, with a plan to incorporate year-round grazing. Their herd consists of 50 cow/calf pairs, 16 horses and mules, replacement heifers and a half- dozen grass-fed steers that are sold through the grass-fed beef market. She said, “Now I have a chance to get my farm in order and concentrate on pasture management.”
Other members of Malot’s family include daughter Molly Schooley and her daughter, Lyla, 3, and Alicia’s husband, Justin Cheshire, all of whom reside in Fulton County.
The family also has an active Forest Stewardship Plan outlining the harvest and improvement of their timber acres. Their property dates to the 1700s, and they are committed to restoring many of the buildings from the original farmstead.
She credits people throughout the United States with furthering her own education, and she said it has been “fun to bring back ideas” and watch them take hold in Pennsylvania.
Malot assists Penn State with a grant to develop and implement training modules to teach consultants about conservation planning of land that is entering into the Conservation Reserve programs for states throughout the northeastern United States. She speaks widely on equine pasture management and other aspects of grazing livestock.
Early in her professional career, she worked with Photo Finish Appaloosa Farm in Berks County, the Fulton County Cooperative Extension office and was an ag teacher at McConnellsburg High School. She also had her own feeder pig operation.