Entrance to Masemore Farm

 

Recently, Keith and Margaret Masemore hosted friends and neighbors on their dairy farm, giving them a firsthand look at the leading agricultural industry in Berks County.  On a rainy September Saturday, fifty visitors, including State Representative Doug Reichley and his children,  made their way down Forever Green Farm’s dirt lane to learn about farming.

Some of the visitors walked from new homes built across the road from the Masemore’s farm.  These neighbors came to see the calves, goats, milking cows, and horses they can watch from their picture windows, along with all the other daily activities that go on at the Masemore farm.

Part of the agriculture education including a hay ride through the fields, with frequent stops to allow Keith to share his farm’s story from the John Deere tractor’s seat.   Keith parked the wagon load of visitors next to a corn field, pointing out deer damage that has robbed all the ears of corn on outside rows.  H explained that the sod waterway with a tile inlet catches surface water and carries it safely underground to a nearby stream.  The stream is protected from livestock damage and erosion by riparian buffers.

The Masemore’s 119-acre farm has been in the family since 1917.  Keith and Margaret purchased it in 1992.  Today, they are milking thirty-three grade Holsteins and ship their milk to Rosenberger’s Dairies.  Keith explained that each cow delivers about 62 pounds of milk each day when they travel through the modernized dairy parlor twice a day.  The new setup that was added in 1997 allows them to milk a cow in three to five minutes.  The milk flows into a 2,000 pound bulk tank and cooled before it is picked up and hauled to the dairy every other day.  The heat from the milk is recycled and used to heat the milk house.

Silage and high moisture corn are raised on 105 acres of cropland and used to feed Masemore’s Holsteins, along with some protein supplements.  The cows rest comfortably on freestall mattresses between milkings.  Vaccinations and a herd health regimen ensure the cows stay healthy and the milk is safe for consumers to drink.

Along with the wagon ride and tour through the dairy barn, visitors were invited to name four new Holstein heifer calves and lead the dairy goats around the farm.  A bunny and some chickens were also on hand to teach visitors lessons on where their food comes from.  A tractor that was safely secured was an inviting place for youngsters to try their hand at “driving” this essential piece of farm machinery, under the watchful eyes of their parents and the Masemores.

The Masemores know the importance of teaching children about agriculture.  They have five of their own, ranging in age from 22 to 5 years old.  Ben, the oldest, has moved to Colorado to pursue his dream of becoming a pastor.  Still at home are Jacob, 21, Maria, 16, Louisa, 11, and Peter, 5.  Thanks to the efforts of the entire family, people have a better understanding of Berks County’s dairy industry and the hard work that goes into keeping it number one.

(More Photos)