Fifty-two years ago, a twelve year old boy had a dream. . .a vision of raising purebred Poland China hogs. This dream had a profound effect on directing the future of Masters Polands. Jerry Masters began to “build his vision” when he purchased his first Poland China bred gilt as a 4-H project from White Cloud Farms (Bill Burns) of Barnard, Missouri. Her first litter farrowed on March 15, 1967, raising ten pigs as a gilt and 77 pigs in seven litters. As his passion and strong belief in purebred Poland Chinas grew, so did his herd. At a young age, Jerry Masters began to “live his vision,” determining to build a legacy of producing Poland China hogs that breed on quality traits from generation to generation.
This 4-H project grew into a father and son family-partnership enterprise known as Ray and Jerry Masters Poland Chinas. The goal of this operation was to produce fast growing, heavy structured lean muscled animals that would benefit the commercial pork industry as well as produce show quality boars and gilts.
“To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream, not only plan, but also believe that success is derived from a passion for the possible.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jerry Masters graduated from Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, in 1976, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business and Animal Science.
The Masters Poland China hog operation was located near Pickering, Missouri, until 1990. In June of 1990, the operation moved to Dover, Arkansas as Jerry became Executive Vice President of the Arkansas Pork Producers Association for which he has served in this capacity for the past 29 years. The operation has involved every family member throughout the years. Jerry’s father and mother, Ray and Doris Masters; along with his wife, Jeanne of 46 years; their two sons – Chad and wife, Rhonda, and their two children: Bryce, age 20, and Sydney, 17. Josh and wife, Kara and their two boys: Jacob, age 16, and Drew, age 13.
Jerry Masters has had a very successful career in exhibiting at state and national shows. Their first national championship was the Champion Boar at the 1976 Southwestern Type Conference. They exhibited the All-Time Record Selling Boar at the 1979 Poland China Spotlight selling for $7,000. The firm also held the record for the All Time Top Selling Poland China Female at $5300 in 1984. Currently, Jerry Masters holds the Record Selling Bred Female at $22,500. Peterbilt was the most influential boar ever used at Masters Polands. He was home-raised son of Beefalo, 1983 SWTC $7500 Champion Boar. This pre-potent herdsire was the sire and grandsire of many popular Poland China boars and gilts that would have included Syndicate, Plasterbilt, Axle Rod, Betterbilt, Heavybilt, Hoss, Correct, and Natural. One of the firm’s greatest accomplishments was exhibiting the Champion Boar at the National Barrow Show six times. Masters Polands has also had their animals named six times on Hog College Row at the National Barrow Show. As the purebred business has changed dramatically in recent years to a show-pig environment, Jerry Masters has worked hard to stay abreast of industry trends. Herdsires such as Lean Generation, The Ride, Authority, Big Shooter, Shows Over, Masterpiece, No Doubt, Old School, Lock Down, Unstoppable, Get In Line and Turn Up the Heat have been used to maintain show ring success for his customers.
Jerry Masters served on the Poland China Board of Directors from 1981 – 1987, 1996 – 2002, 2006 – 2012 and 2017 to present. He served many years as President of the Poland China Board and is currently the President of the Poland China Board and the Vice-President of the CPS. During his tenure as President, he served on several task forces, and represented the Poland China Breed in the formation of the three breed office later known as CPS.
There are many people that set a standard to follow, an example of true leadership that influenced Jerry in “living his vision.” These individuals have encouraged him to be progressive in his breeding program and to continually study genetics: Carl Hirsch, Oscar Anderson, Leland Mapes, Herman Bergman, Jack Wall, Jimmy Waits, and Jerry’s father, Ray Masters.
As the dream and the passion for purebred Poland China hogs continues to thrive in the heart of Jerry Masters, the legacy of laying a strong foundation of hard work and perseverance breeds on. Memories have been built . . . friendships developed . . . alliances formed . . . and lasting impressions made over the last 52 years. Poland China breeders have proven time and time again that their standard to success is not in the achievements and awards, although these things are fine and good. Success is in knowing that you have given your very best in the task of living and contributing to your family and your fellow Poland China fraternity. Jerry Masters commends the Poland China members for their rich heritage they have built by laying a strong foundation of hard work . . . by setting goals for tomorrow . . . by measuring themselves not by what they have accomplished, but by what they should accomplish . . . and preparing themselves for where they want to be, not for where they are. The road to success rarely has stop signs or rest areas. Jerry feels they must continue to be diligent in their efforts and courageous in their commitments. Others have seen the achievements of their hard work and the knowledge of the purebred industry, their dedication to high standards and the love for the Poland China Breed. Maintaining this attitude, they can continue to meet the challenges that lie ahead in their future. The future is promising and Jerry is proud to say that he raises Poland China swine. Poland China members have seen the vision . . . they believe in it . . . they have built it . . . and they live it. They have set a standard for the rest to follow . . . an example of true leadership built for their children and their grandchildren that they can be proud of . . . a legacy.