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Martin Daugherty keeps family farm going

| November 4, 2016
Martin Daugherty stands in front of his 1400-acre family farm that has been in his family since 1875. Martin took over the farm in 1949 after his father died unexpectedly when Martin was 18 years old.

Martin Daugherty stands in front of his 1400-acre family farm that has been in his family since 1875. Martin took over the farm in 1949 after his father died unexpectedly when Martin was 18 years old.

FRESNO – Martin Daugherty of CR 12, Fresno will be 86 next month, but he doesn’t let that stop him from keeping a watchful eye over his family farm.

The farm and the old family farm house have been in Daugherty’s family for 141 years. Daugherty took over the family farm in 1949 at the age of 18 when his father unexpectedly passed away. Although he had just finished his first quarter at The Ohio State University, Daugherty decided to stay home and continue running the family farm.

Daugherty’s father, Robert Daugherty, began growing seed corn in 1937. He, along with Chester Pew of Canal Lewisville, were the first farmers in the county to grow seed corn. Pew began growing in 1938.

“My dad was a fellow that wanted to try new things,” said Martin. “He started growing seed corn and it worked out for him and I’ve just carried it on.”

When Martin’s father first started, there wasn’t much yield with open pollinated corn. Over the years, hybrids have been developed which has increased the yield and also the quality of the product. Martin still has an old sack that was used to store seed corn. There used to be a bushel in each bag and it would be tied with wire.

“When I first started, I was getting about 40 to 50 bushels an acre,” said Martin. “That started climbing when I was in the River View Corn Club, we had a yield of about 169 bushels. Now, we’re getting about 240. The top yield in the country right now is 400 bushels.”

Hybrids have evolved over the years and now include insect protection, which makes the product more expensive. When Martin first started farming, four inbreds were used in hybrids whereas only two are used now.

Martin remembers the days of detasseling corn by hand, whereas now machines do most of the work, although detasselers still go through and remove any remaining tassels on female stalks.

He also remembers getting up early when he was in grade school to help milk the cows. At that time, the farm had two dairy cows, but now has 121 head that are milked in the same parlor Martin used during his school days.

“I’ve always farmed and milked,” he said. “I’m very much interested in it since I took over. I never went to college, but I know the process of raising it, how to do it, and what it accomplishes in the field.”

Martin also grows and sells soybeans and currently sells to 75 to 80 farmers. About 100 acres of his farm are used to grow soybeans. Martin produces both LibertyLink soybeans and Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans. Both the soybeans and corn are harvested in the fall on his 1400-arce farm.

“Farming has changed,” he said. “I started out with horses and a Ford tractor. Now, we’ve got all kinds of big tractors and everything is run by machine.”

Martin has farmed avidly for 67 years, but three years ago, he turned over the business to his son and grandson, Bill and Kyle, although he can still be seen every morning at 5:30 a.m. helping to milk the cows.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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