Celebrating Two Decades of Innovation

By Ray Scott

It’s hard to believe we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of theWhitetail Institute. All I can say is… what a difference 20 years can make!

 It’s tempting to just talk about our products and all the ground-breaking advances we’ve made in the last 20 years in the field of deer nutrition. But I find my mind keeps going back to the very beginning. How the Institute started with one frustrated hunter — me. One great product — Imperial Whitetail Clover. And one great man — Dr. Wiley Johnson. Wiley was the agronomist who genetically developed the unique clover varieties that are the backbone of Imperial Whitetail Clover and other Whitetail Institute products and later became the Institute’s first Director of Forage Research.

That’s all it took. From those little seedlings, a mighty new industry grew. I invite you to read Hollis Ayres’ comprehensive history on page 6. Frankly we didn’t know for sure how many hunters and land managers would take the time, effort and money to become “recreational farmers” even if it did improve their hunting. But boy, did we find out.

With the interest in nutrition the Whitetail Institute created and the undeniable benefits that followed, a dedicated group of field testers sprang up around the country and took their passion well beyond just hunting and into responsible whitetail management. And a great thing happened: as the management and nutrition improved, so did the hunting — beyond all expectations.

That’s where we are today. With more great things to come.