Mark Yoder honored as a Pa. Holstein Pioneer
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Mark S. Yoder will long be remembered as a man of integrity who was a lot of fun to be with. And his Y-Brookside breeding will long be remembered for its honest, high quality and deep pedigreed cattle.
The Pennsylvania Holstein Association bolstered Mark’s legacy here last weekend when he was posthumously named winner of the Association’s Pioneer Memorial Award. Mark retired from farming in 1992 and passed away on September 21, 2001, barely three months shy of his 73rd birthday.
Born on December 13, 1928 to Jacob H. and Saloma A. (Peachey) Yoder, Mark was one of 11 children. He lived on his farm outside of Belleville, Mifflin County, and was a passionate dairy farmer and breeder of Registered Holsteins.
Mark was best described by Sheldon Peachey “as an honest man, a real encourager and top-notch manager. He loved good cows. He wasn’t afraid to try something new or take risks. He took a personal interest in seeing young families get started. I remember Mark telling me one time ‘When everyone is running, you walk; When everyone is walking, you run.’ That’s stuck with me.”
Always very involved in local Holstein activity, Mark was a fun guy to have along on a Holstein tour. He just loved to see good cows. He participated in Pennsylvania Holstein meetings, activities and sales.
In breeding his herd, Mark selected for longevity. A prime example of his breeding was WA-LE Betsy Fond (EX-92-4E). A Woodbourne Fond Reflector granddaughter, she had 281,693 pounds of milk lifetime. Her 16-year old daughter, WA-KE Y Brookside Betsy (EX 90) was sired by a Kingpin son. These herd favorites made a significant impact on the Y-Brookside herd.
Another herd matriarch was Y-Brookside Betty 91 (EX-92-3E, GMD DOM). Her granddaughter by Ned Boy, Y-Brookside Star 389, who scored EX-91, was purchased by Darren Peachey. Darren bred this Ned Boy daughter to Aerostar producing Peach-View Aero Star-ET (VG-86. DOM). Darren owned Star in partnership with Dave Rama. Darren and Dave consigned her Slocum daughter, Peach-View DR Star Sabra (EX-90) in the 1986 National Convention Sale. She was purchased by Glen-Toctin Farm, of Maryland. Star Sabra produced an Elton son, Glen-Toctin Pippen, an ABS sire of sons. Mark had opportunity to see the success of his breeding program influence many other herds.
Mark was the breeder that put Cal-Clark Board Chairman on the map. Having several early Excellent daughters was part of what made Y-Brookside a sought-after breeding establishment. One of these Chairman daughters, Y-Brookside Chairman 107 was one of the top selling lots in the 1982 Sire Power Sale commanding a bid of $15,000. She was purchased by Boyd Brothers of Seneca Kansas. They were obviously pleased with their purchase as they came back and purchased 30 more cows from the Y-Brookside herd for $3000 each.
Y-Brookside had a number of consignments to the Sire Power sales that demanded high bids, along with the Pennsylvania Convention Sale, among others. Mark said in a January 1986 article of Pennsylvania Holstein Profiles, “I sell off the top, middle and bottom of my herd. I sell 25 to 45 cows a year for dairy purposes. Not everyone has the need, the desire or the money to buy the best but if they are going to stay in the business today, they need good cows that will milk and make them money.”
Mark is remembered not only for his great herd of cattle, but also for giving several aspiring young dairymen a start in the Registered Holstein business. Although Mark never married nor had a family of his own, he gave generously to many other families this way. Byler Brothers, David W. Yoder, David Peachey, Enos Kurtz, Ray and Carol Peachey, Louie Peight, Jake Peight, and Kim Grommis all worked as hired help to Mark for a time. Along with a good education under Mark’s mentoring, he gave each of these young people an opportunity to buy cows from his herd when they were ready to start farming on their own.
Mark said: “I try to make my hired men a good deal price-wise so they will buy cows from me. They can go and buy cows somewhere else but I feel I can sell them good cows for less money than they will spend elsewhere.” He was also a part-time auctioneer, retiring the gavel in 1996.
At one time Mark owned several farms, some of these hired families also acquired real estate from Mark. Additionally, he was also an inspiration to many others to choose Registered Holsteins as their choice of dairy cattle.
Mark was a member of the Beth-El Mennonite Church.