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Down on the Farm – 100 Years and 5 Generations
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2018-09-06

            One hundred years and five generations of farming on a Hereford farm is

Jesse and wife Mabel Masemore (left and sitting) are

pictured with son Lloyd (standing) and grandson Clyde

(kneeling) at the family farm on Huffs Church Road in

Hereford Township.

something to be proud of and having an opportunity to sit down with Clyde Masemore, the 92 year-old grandson of the man who started it was a wonderful trip through farming history.

            The now 116-acre farm was purchased by Jesse Masemore in 1918.  The former Huntington County farmer packed up his family and livestock from his then homestead, just south of Three Springs, and moved to Berks County after purchasing the Hereford farm. 

            The cattle was transported from Huntington County by train to the Barto Station.              There drovers most likely walked the cows down the dirt-roads to their new home in Hereford Township. 

            Clyde spoke of the mules who pulled his grandfather's equipment through the fields.  He spoke affectionately of one particular horse, who was blind, that shared the field duties.  The horse had a unique ability to sense problems ahead in the field and stop dead in his tracks until the issue was corrected.

            From picking corn by hand to the modernization of the farm, the list of 

Standing in the barn among the Holsteins are, left to

right, Ben, Clyde, and Keith Masemore.  The Masemore's

are celebrating 100 years at the Hereford Farm.

equipment used throughout the years was a lesson in the evolution of farming.  Their first tractor, was a steel-wheeled 1020 McCormick; the first thrashing machine was purchased from a Pottstown company.  They didn't get their first rubber-tired tractor until 1960 when they bought a McCormick F120.

            While talking to Clyde, his son Keith was busy mixing feed from the silos.  Grandson Ben (Keith's son) was busy in the parlor with the morning's milking.  The Masemores currently milk about 65 cows.

            In the early years, the Masemores hauled their milk to Red Hill to be shipped by train for processing in Philadelphia.  Later, area dairies would send trucks to the farm for pick-up and transport for processing closer to home.

            The Masemores farmed other locations in Hereford Township while the then family patriarch worked the Huff's Church Road farm.  Clyde's father, Lloyd, took over the farm from Jesse. 

            Clyde, wife Doris and their children, Sheri, Keith, Blane, and Wendy all spent time on the family farm.  

            Today, Keith has the reigns and lives on the farm with wife Margaret and son Peter.  Keith and Margaret's other children, Ben, Jacob, Maria, and Louisa (currently in college) are all grown and living away from the homestead. 

            Long gone are those days of milk pick-up by local dairies like Woodson and Rosenberger.  As Keith explains, "The milk is sold to Co-Ops today" who have several

Fifth generation Ben Masemore tends to the morning 

milking chore on the Masemore family farm.

different trucking companies doing the pick-up at the farms.

            There is no best price for your product – just a price.  The Masemore farm is a member of the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative.

            In the fields, the Masemores grow corn, soy beans, wheat, alfalfa, grass, and hay – all used to feed the livestock.

            While large, corporate owned dairy farms are springing up and challenging the existence of the family farm, it's good to know that modern thinking and hard work are combining to save the farms and provide them with a future.

            Ben, who has a 75-acre farm in Niantic, speaks fondly and positively about the Hereford family farm while milking the cows.  Ben is well-versed in the modern technology of running a farm and how to meet the challenges of the future and the mammoth corporate dairy conglomerates.

            Taking advantage of new technology and diversifying will keep the family farms relevant.

            In addition to advances in breeding and feeding cows to maintain proper milk production, Ben has added beef cattle to help diversify the Masemore farm.

            At his Niantic farm, Ben raises goats and sheep.  He currently tends to about 135 sheep and 85 goats there.  His "hair sheep" provide wool and his goats are sold nationally (soon to be internationally) as breeding stock.

            He's looking into purchasing dairy equipment to process milk from his herd of Alpine goats.

            He is a farmer with a plan.

            The Masemore's have recently added their "Forever Green Farm" to the list of preserved farms in Berks County. 

            With that, there is hope that that it will be preserved for another five generations and more.


 

 

 

 

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