There was a time when farmers in Lebanon County didn’t grow soybeans. “At that time, Penn State said, ‘you can’t raise beans around here; it won’t work,’” said Samuel Musser of Triple-M-Farms. “But my dad raised some soybeans and we baled it like hay. There weren’t many combines then, so we baled this stuff and big stems were sticking out. But it wasn’t much.” At the time, Musser’s fellow farmer, Mark Hershey, “was buying soybeans out of the west and cooking them. They were probably railed in; nobody seemed to know where he was getting them.”
By 1974, Musser was paying Dale Schnupp to roast his farm’s soybeans. “Before that, we used an extruder. I think what led me to get started with that was that I could raise my own protein. We were feeding pigs and I wanted to get rid of the feed man,” he explained.
Dale Schnupp starting the roasting business with help from Musser. “We helped him build his first roaster in our shop. He’s the one who got us started in our feed business.”
Musser is credited as the first farmer in Lebanon County to raise soybeans. Today, the operation, located on King Street in Lebanon is a family affair.
“My son is farming the farm now but he’s raising organic crops, so we don’t have quite as many soybeans as before. We have more hay and corn. Everybody around here raises soybeans now. They double crop.” Aside from feeding livestock, Musser said he grows a small amount of soy for human consumption, “Even here at the mill we do some. We had a lady come all the way from Harrisburg to get a 100 pounds for human consumption.”
Triple-M-Farms is a family-owned operation that’s been in the feed business since 1982, according to the farm’s website. They purchased the mill initially for their own needs, but were soon taking outside requests. Today, the farm is known across the mid-Atlantic for their milling and feed mix services.
Musser said he started selling roasted soybeans after Schnupp suggested it and has never looked back. “Everything just fell together,” said Musser. “We have about 18 to 20 trucks on the road every day, and about 35 to 40 employees.”
“We custom mix dairy feed; dairy is our specialty. We are getting into this non-GMO pretty big right now. Nobody knows where that’s going to go.”
Currently, Musser rents a steel building where grain is stored. “We had a pile of corn in there as high as this building, and another pile as big as that of soybeans. We have been storing soybean brick.”
Musser isn’t certain whether soybean production will continue to increase, but he’s expanding his operation with the construction of a new building that will, as he put it simply, “The biggest one in Pennsylvania.”