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Master Farmer Elected To Lead Penn State University's Trustees

Keith Masser, Pennsylvania potato grower and ag business leader, elected on Friday to lead the university into a brighter future.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

January 18, 2013

2 Min Read

On Friday, Penn State University's board of trustees elected a new chairman to lead the university into what's hoped to be a less controversial future. Keith Masser of Sacramento, Pa., a 1998 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer from Schuylkill County, has plenty of business management skills to lend toward selecting a new president of the university and address the fall out from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.


Masser is chairman and CEO of Sterman Masser Inc., a family owned and operated 5,000-acre potato growing, packing and shipping company based in central Pennsylvania. The first of his extended family to attend college, Keith graduated with distinction in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering, then went on to work for Procter & Gamble.

In 1980, after his brother's death pushed the family farm into crisis, Keith purchased the small business. Today, with business locations in three states, Sterman Masser is one of North America's top produce growing, processing, shipping and marketing organizations. Under his leadership, this seventh-generation farm business has become an industry leader in food safety, innovation and corporate responsibility.

Masser is dedicated to securing the future of the university and its students. He supports scholarships in his brother's name and is a volunteer of the "For the Future" campaign. He has been honored as a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Alumnus.

Keith has over 30 years of experience leading and serving on nonprofit boards. His experience includes leadership in local, county, state and national organizations. His accomplishments include securing funding, creating and securing passage of legislation and eliminating onerous regulations for the boards' constituents.

Keith and wife Helen have two children, David and Julie. All are Penn State graduates and are owners employed full-time in the family businesses.

Masser says his experience over the past year as trustee vice chair will allow for a smooth leadership transition and a steady path forward. He knows the school from many vantage points -- as a first-generation student, alumnus, volunteer, business leader, tuition-paying parent, taxpayer, philanthropist and trustee. He's also a member of the board of directors at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

"I'm deeply committed to our students, and to keeping Penn State affordable and accessible for generations to come," he says. "I'm committed to engaging full board involvement, building consensus and unifying our community."

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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