March 29 2010 02:14 PM

Obviously, this brief chronicle inadequately relates the service to man represented by thousands of pages of magazine guidance, millions of miles of travel and thousands of speaking engagements and debates over a century. It does indicate a significant characteristic of continuity, however. There is continuity of courage, continuity of philosophy and continuity of leadership unsurpassed in the history of American publications.

There have been scores of farm and dairy magazines. Those remaining today, normally, have had changes in ownership, management, policy and strength. Their service and their fortunes have fluctuated with those changes. But the magazine W.D. Hoard founded in 1885 has his unique asset of continuity which is intriguing to explore.

The most obvious explanation of the uniqueness of Hoard's Dairyman might easily be credited to the unusual succession of ownership and management. W.D. Hoard was succeeded by his son, in 1918, his grandson in 1939 and a veteran editor in 1972. But history has often proved that inheritance is no assurance of continuity of courage, philosophy and leadership. Environment and indoctrination must supplement inherited capabilities.

The founder was nationally known as an editor, statesman and farm leader. Basically, however, he was a teacher. Further, it is clear from his life's work he was a crusading teacher with the entire nation his classroom. Through the written and spoken word, he brought life to the uninformed, spurred the laggard, humbled the arrogant and through it all moulded a dairy industry without equal in any country in the world. Our high-quality human diet enjoyed today is, in no small measure, the result of his dedicated service.

W.D. Hoard's frequent reference to Scripture leaves no doubt that he welcomed the call to serve mankind. He saw, too, that his work would not be accomplished in his generation. To his youngest son, Frank, would fall the responsibility of carrying on the crusade he had begun. For 33 years, while father and son worked together, the influence of environment and indoctrination assured the continuance of the principles on which the magazine is founded.

It followed that Frank would impart on his son, William D. Hoard, Jr., the same philosophy during the 18 years they worked together.

Upon his passing without an heir in 1972, William Hoard, Jr., bequeathed future leadership of the magazine to William D. Knox, an editor of the magazine for 31 years.

This relationship is unusual when considering the nature of the men. Each was a strong, colorful personality. Independent and sometimes headstrong, each was the master of his own destiny and no one who worked with them ever doubted it.

But underlying the apparent individualistic exterior of each generation flowed a compassion which, if not obvious, was deep and strong. Every decision regarding the magazine and its function was directed toward the best interests of the readers it served. Personal considerations have ever been subordinated to reader welfare. Each man dedicated his life to further improving the service and quality of the magazine and leaving it in a stronger, more effective position.

And the dedication which each man felt was not for the passive type. The vigor of each never permitted taking satisfaction in past accomplishments. Today, as each issue goes to press, the admonition of W.D. Hoard, Jr., on a large plaque continues to challenge the Hoard's Dairyman staff to "make the next issue our best."

This active dedication to service by three successive generations in the Hoard family has created a heritage unique in the publication world. In every state and in every English-speaking country in the world, over 100 years of continuous, reliable service and courageous leadership have given the nation's dairy farmers reason to read each issue of Hoard's Dairyman with confidence.