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Third of four features on what makes the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer award winners click.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

April 19, 2013

2 Min Read

After high school graduation, Jim Musser saw opportunity for staying home on family dairy farm instead of going to college. Three years later in 1972, he joined his father and a neighbor in setting up M&R Grain, a corn and soybean drying and storage enterprise.

In 1976, Musser, his brother and their father created a partnership and built two layer houses. They were milking 46 cows, packing eggs from 120,000 contracted layers and farming close to 300 acres. By 1993, Jim and wife Sue owned M&R Grain, plus the home farm, and began expanding the grain facility to store 410,000 bushels and roast corn and soybeans.


In 2000, the family began remodeling their worn out poultry houses into storage for 28 customers and business sites for 10 tenants. In 2007, the Mussers built a heifer barn to raise 180 dairy heifers for a neighbor, and feed out steers make use of their old dairy facility. Today, M&R sells roasted soybeans to feed mills and provides grain banking for neighboring farms.

The above noted changes opened opportunities to bring two of their four sons, Dustin and Cody, into the business. Cody handles the cattle, computers plus some trucking. Dustin is in charge of the crops, equipment and general maintenance.

Jim oversees overall management and marketing while Sue handles taxes, banking and insurance. All this came about despite a tornado that flattened a layer house and large grain bin plus two bouts of avian flu.

Jim serves on Lancaster County's Farm and Home Foundation and is treasurer of Manheim Young Farmers. He's a director of the Pennsylvania Soybean Board, the United Soybean Board, Lancaster County Ag Council and is on the township ag preservation board.

Sue is treasurer of the local Dairy of Distinction program and has held many offices in their local church. Jim has received the American Soybean Association's market-builder award, the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Young Leader award and Pennsylvania's Young Farmers' Community Service award. In 2010, he was inducted in to Pennsylvania's Young Farmer Hall of Fame.

Nominate a worthy Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer candidate now
Know of an outstanding farmer who's deserving of the Master Farmer award? Then, nominate him or her now for the 2014 award. And they'll receive an application.

Since 1927, the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Awards program has recognized individual farmer leaders from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia who inspire others. These men and/or women are good farmers, smart business persons, excellent stewards of their resources and exemplary community servants. Size of the farming operation isn't a deciding factor.

The award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist and Cooperative Extension in the above mentioned states. Email your nominations to: [email protected] . Be sure the mailing address is current and complete.

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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