2004 Maurice Robeson

Maurice E. Robeson

Maurice Robeson was born March 11, 1941, and has lived on a farm all of his life. He grew up farming and raising hogs and dairy cattle for his dad. He graduated from Flora High School in 1959. And early in the next year, he attended the Purdue University Agriculture eight-week short course, and graduated with top honors.

He married Janalie Smith on March 17, 1963. The couple moved from their first home in Washington Township to a home south of Camden, in 1965. At this time, he share-cropped, and raised feeder pigs on (his grandfather) Jesse Yeager and Charles Yeager’s farms.

In 1972, he built his first confinement hog-finishing unit. In 1976, he traveled to Europe, where he toured some of the most modern farrowing facilities in the world, at that time. Robeson brought his ideas back home and proceeded to build one of the most advanced farrowing facilities in the United States. He invented a new brand of woven wire flooring for farrowing and nursery operations. This wire flooring is still being manufactured and used, with very little change from his original design. In the summer of 1996, he sold his finishing operation and sows, but it took until March of 2003 to get completely out of hogs.

Robeson, with the help of his cousin Paul Marcellino, is currently farming 4,900 acres. Much of this land has been in their family for 50 to 100 years. He has engineered and built, with the help of loyal employees, many hog buildings, and has designed and built two large grain complexes. He and Janalie also designed and built their present home, northeast of Flora, in 1978 and 1979. They, along with their daughters, were involved in the actual construction of their home.

Along the way, Robeson has helped a fertilizer plant to be locally owned, some farmers in the 1980s to get back on their feet and some more farmers to get started on their own. A number of times, he has helped hog farmers, who were experiencing difficulties, to continue operating.

He is a member of the Flora First Christian Church, has served many terms as an elder and is currently on the church board. He has served as chairman of several committees over the years, including a number of years as chairman of the education committee.

“His wife is an artist and works with computer digital imaging. She is also active in the church. She serves as “wheels,” when equipment needs to be moved, as a “gopher” for parts, and monitors the business radio and phones during the busy seasons,” says Nichols.

Their daughters are both involved in the farming operation. Miriam Robeson, who is an attorney, handles legal work, Farm Service Agency and tax work, along with other paper work necessary to the farming operation. Michele, who is a professional musician, has a wholesale tree nursery operation located at the home place, and also does a lot of field work in the fall.

February 11, 2010

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