Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, June 05, 1976, Image 49

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    herdswoman for
Long Meadows Farm
Berks Co. Reporters
HAMBURG - - A quick
profile on Helene Dreisbach
of Hamburg R 1 would seem
to describe any number of
farm women: She is a wife, a
mother, a great cook; and
she is very much involved in
the family farm and other
farm related activities.
Helene has a vitality and an
outgoing personality,
however, that invite a closer
look; and when I decided to
interview her recently, some
of those same facts were
Farm wife is
revealed in a slightly altered
Until about six years ago,
Helene, who is married to
Veterinarian Robert
Dreisbach, was not a farm
wife. Explaining how the
family came to move to
Berks County, she told me
that Bob had had a “thriving
veterinary practice” in
Montgomery County but
regretted attending fewer
and fewer farm animals.
Also, the Dreisbach’s prefer
country living, and their
seven-acre property in
Landsdale where they kept
a few horses for riding had
become hemmed in by
apartments and housing
developments. That explains
their decision to move, but
their reason for buying a
farm centers around a cow
named “Lullaby.”
Helene told me that when
they first bought the
Longmeadows Farm, which
is located near Yoder
Heights just outside of West
Hamburg, her husband was
fond of telling visiting
friends about this ex
travagantly expensive cow
he owned. Introducing them
to Lullaby, he would tell how
she earned the title of “the
$lOO,OOO cow.” It all began,
as he would tell the story,
when Helene got him a heifer
calf one year for Christmas.
Naturally then, they had to
get other cows to keep
Lullaby company. As
Lullaby and her companions
continued to freshen and
have heifers of their own, he
finally had to buy a farm to
put them on, and then
equipment to grow their
feed, and so on ...
Helene admits that Bob’s
joke tells the story pretty
much as it happened. She did
get him the heifer for
Christmas; they were
subsequently keeping a few
milking cows and heifers at
Walabe Farms in
Collegeville; and their small
herd did eventually grow “to
the point that they would
have to either sell them or
buy a farm.”
The Dreisbachs’ first few
years of farming, as Helene
remembers them, were not
exactly easy ones. Bob was
faced with building a new
veterinary practice, and on
top of the cost of the farm
itself, there was a lot of dairy
‘-V** -
f ,
Helene Dreisbach is greeted by one animal was a recent addition to the
of the family’s Brown Swiss cows herd at Long Meadows Farm,
during a trip to the meadow. The
equipment and farm
machinery to be purchased.
They were accustomed to the
work involved with the cows
so “the dairy operation did
not give us any problems,”
she recall, “but the field
work did.” Six years later,
however, they seem to be
managing quite well. The
dairy herd has grown to
include 52 registered Jerseys
on test and another 50 heifers
and young bulls. A good
portion of their 100 acre farm
is used for pasture land and
crop growing, and they rent
another 80 acres for their
crop production which in
cludes com, silage and hay.
Running a successful
veterinary practice is a full
time business, and the
Dreisbach’s only employ one
full-time hired hand for the
farm operation. Helene,
however, lends more than a'
helping hand around the
farm. She is actually the
herdswoman for
Longmeadows Farm,
responsible for about 85
percent of the milking and
all the record keeping for the
herd. Bob has a little more
free time now that he has
taken on a young
veterinarian to help with his
practice, and in addition to
the health and feeding of the
herd, he tends to the planting
and field work. The
Lancaster Farming, Saturday. June 5.1976 —
arrangement, according to
Helene, suits both she and
her husband quite well.
“What Bob really likes to
do,” she told me, “is go out
about six in the morning and
plow. It really relaxes him.”
As for Helene, she is ob
viously enthusiastic about
the dairy business and
particularly enjoys choosing
the sires and keeping the
Considering the extent of
her involvement with the
family farm operation, I was
surprised to learn .that
Helene was not raised on a
farm. She majored in
agriculture in college
primarily because of her
interest in horses. At the
time, she was showing
Morgans, training horses,
and giving riding lessons.
Her first introduction to
cows was at college, and it
seems that she was hooked
almost immediately. “I liked
the idea of the animal
working for me for a change,
instead of the other way
around,” she told me. The
Dreisbach’s herd is one of
only three registered Jersey
herds in the County, and
Helene is a confirmed Jersey
fan. “Some people think that
all milk is created equal,”
she said, “but that is really
not true. Jerseys produce a
very high quality, high solids
t* > %
S <*S 1 *■ ££> \
milk and do it very ef
ficiently.” She admits that
her opinion seems to be a
minority one in this area, but
she is not one to hold back on
something she feels strongly
Producing a couple of
hefty volumes of DHIB and
OPC records, Helene pointed
out that she finds the records
to be the most fascinating
part of dairying. She is quite
proud of the herd’s per
formance which last year
averaged 10,853 pounds of
milk and 558 pounds of
butterfat. Choosing the sire
and then comparing a cow’s
production with that of her
offspring, she explained,
“usually tells you that you
have either bred up or down.
If I was just milking, if I was
not involved with trying to
get better, I wouldn’t be
happy.” She went on to add,
“Some people think that you
have to keep getting bigger
and bigger. We don’t really
want to get bigger, just
Helene’s competency with
animal records came in
handy recently when she and
Bob got involved in
preparing the catalogue of
consignments for the Penn
sylvania Jersey Cattle Sale.
Bob is chairman of the sale
which will take place at the
IContinued on Page 52]