The Pennsylvania Holstein Association presents the Hall of Fame Award to a member of the Association recognizing an individual or couple for their achievements and contributions to the Holstein Dairy Industry as well as their involvement and leadership in other agricultural and community activities.
Our next inductee is described as being an honest man with integrity, devoted to his family and love for the farming community.
Wilmer Hostetter was born Feb 8, 1938. He has been married to the love of his life, Joyce for 58 years. The couple has 4 sons, 11 grand children, and 10 great grandchildren.
Wilmer was the youngest of seven children. At age 14 Wilmer worked for his older brother, milking his 33 cows and tending to the dairy. Wilmer educated himself by reading dairy magazines. During that time, he married Joyce and continued working for his brother for 2 more years.
In a Farm Credit pamphlet Wilmer and Joyce saw a farm for rent in Oxford, Pennsylvania. The couple rented the 140-acre farm for 3 years before purchasing the farm in 1963. Having grade herd, they purchased registered cattle from different farms, thus the new prefix Joy-Wil came into play. A cow was purchased from neighbor Chris Strohmaier who would help build the Joy-Wil legacy. This cow was Ivanhoe Millie. The couples 4 sons all shared an interest in farming and in good cattle. The family decided to send Ivanhoe Millie to Canada for embryo transplant. Flushing was a new concept at this time and Canada was the closest option.
In 1972 Wilmer and Joyce purchased a neighboring farm for their growing business and family. Wilmer also got into the heifer business and at this time was expanding that as well, traveling as far as Wisconsin by train to purchase cattle.
Wilmer, along with 9 other dairymen, joined together to form Brandywine Valley Breeders. The 10 members invested time and money proving bulls. Their passion was worth their time, as three bulls went to stud, Round Oak Electron went to Atlantic, Vigo Starlite Elevate went to Sire Power, and Vigo Standout Reflection went to Curtiss. Wilmer housed some of the bulls at their farm, and the family shared a story about an incident that happened on the farm involving one of the bulls that I would like to share with you. Apparently one of the bulls got out of this pen, and was heading for the road. Wilmer jumped in the pickup truck to head the bull off. Well when the bull saw Wilmer in the truck he headed straight for the side door of the truck. Thinking quickly Wilmer wound up the door window to protect himself from the charging bull. Well this worked as the bull stopped just short of the door and just ended up putting a small ding in the door. After getting the bull back to his pen, the family laughed at the quick thinking of Wilmer to protect himself from the bull.
Flushing cattle became more popular and Wilmer took advantage of the new technology. Ivanhoe Millie lived to be 18 years old, and became a family pet and had full range of the pasture and facilities, even though her milking days were long gone.
Over the years, Joy-Wil prefix has bred approximately 45 Excellent cows and developed others that were purchased. They also bred 11 Gold Medal Dams. Joy-Wil Elevation Patsy sold for $50,000 at the 1981 All-American Sale. Four years later the family purchased Patsy back through the National Convention Sale. To their amazement, Patsy walked to her original stall squeezing into the stall and pushing the other cow out.
The Joy-Wil BAA topped 107%, and Wilmer received the Progressive Breeder Award numerous times. Wilmer’s heifer business continued to grow. He rented 9 different farms housing up to 1,500 heifers. Working with PHA Wilmer sold heifers internationally to Mexico and Puerto Rico.
In 1992 Joy-Wil had their first dispersal. Fifty members of the Millie Patsy family sold out of a total of 138 head. The sale averaged over $2,900, with the highest cow selling for $30,000.
While growing their reputation for good pedigree cattle, Wilmer and Joyce started a grain business. In 1976 they built their first grain bin. It was a 90,000 bushel bin. They had 10 customers at that time. Over the years Hostetter Grain grew, and two sons, Bill and Bernie worked full time with the grain business. The other two sons, Barry and John continued to manage the dairies. The herd dispersal allowed Barry to join the grain business. Today Hostetter Grain has over 4,000 customers and storage of 5 million bushels at three different locations.
In 2002 the second and final dairy dispersal was held. The sale average $2,259. 157 animals were sold with 40 of them from the Millie Patsy family.
Wilmer’s son John did purchase back a Joy-Wil bred animal in 2003. Through that one heifer John has continued the Joy-Wil legacy. Wilmer’s grandchildren have showed Joy-Wil cattle at the Chester County 4-H show over the past 10 years. Wilmer’s granddaughter Paige won Chester County 4-H Supreme Champion in 2009 and granddaughter Brooke won the Senior 2-Year Old class at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg in 2016 with Joy-Wil Atwood Merry.
Wilmer served on numerous boards including, Oxford Area School Board, Fulton Bank Advisory board, Farm Credit Board, and the Chester County Holstein Board. Wilmer has also served the community through his church and charity organizations.
He has been a member of the Mt Vernon Christian Church for over 50 years, were he has served many positions. He has served on the Black Rock Christian Retreat board and with Partners in Evangelism.
Wilmer has contributed his success to the Lord, his family and those around him. As Wilmer said, “It takes a team of people to get something accomplished”
Congratulations to you, Wilmer Hostetter, our second 2017 Hall of Fame Award winner.