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Hay industry leader David King succumbs to cancer at age 62

Capital Press 2/7/22

(KBC NOTE: David's father, Frank King, was a 1949 Tulelake Homesteader)

May be an image of 1 person and standingDavid King, a long-time officer with both the Oregon Hay & Forage Association and the Klamath Basin Hay Growers Association, lost his battle with cancer and died Jan. 26.

King, 62, had been a hay grower in the Malin, Ore., area since returning to Klamath County after graduating from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in California with an ag business degree in 1982. The King farm grows alfalfa, grass, timothy and triticale hay and grain. The farm was a member of the High Mountain Hay Growers Cooperative that marketed and sold the hay products.
King was a founding member of the state hay association. He was both a long-time secretary of the state organization and president of the Klamath Basin hay association.
“David put a lot of hours into both organizations, trying to make them better, to make them work,” said Mylen Bohle, the recently retired Oregon State University Extension hay and forage specialist for Central Oregon. “He saw the value of the two organizations.”
King had planned to participate in an evening zoom meeting of the state association on the day he died.
“David's whole love was farming,” said Robin King, his wife of 40 years. “He enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing things grow. He believed in the marketing part of the business and that's why he was also a believer in the hay grower associations. He believed you could move forward as a group better than as an individual.”
King was first diagnosed with leukemia in 1998. In 1999, he had a bone marrow transplant with his daughter Whitney being the donor. Six years ago, he had surgery to remove cancerous cells and then last year another surgery.
Robin King and their son Cameron will continue to work the family operation. The couple’s two daughters are also involved in agriculture. Angelina King works for the Tulelake Irrigation District and Whitney Cantrell is an accountant for Macy’s Flying Service and also does bookkeeping for the family’s farm operation.
David and Robin King each have long family histories in the Klamath Basin. Robin’s great-grandparents came to the area in the early 1900s.
David’s father, Frank King, got a homestead in the Malin (CORRECTION: Tulelake) area as a veteran in 1949. That homestead property is still part of the family operation with the land being used to graze cattle.
David King was known as an innovator, trying new ways to benefit the soil and to conserve water. He was willing to share what worked best for his farming operation.
“He wanted to promote education as much as possible,” Robin King said of her husband. “He worked hard every day to do it right and to produce a high-quality product. That was important to him.
“It was also important to him that people got the right facts and perspective so they would better understand agriculture,” she added.
Laurence Bagg, another Malin area hay grower, described King as efficient, creative and progressive. Bagg said King laser-leveled several fields to make them more efficient for flood irrigating.
Scott Pierson, a Silver Lake, Ore., hay grower, agreed that King was “extremely innovative.”
“But he was also interactive,” Pierson said. “You could ask him questions, but then he wanted to know more about your operation, your soil and water issues.
“He was a serious representative for the ag industry,” Pierson added. “He could be a professional among suits or easily talk to a person who was just getting into the industry.”
Bohle said King is “a real loss to his family, the Klamath Basin and to the Oregon Hay and Forage group.”



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