The Roger Roop Heifer Project Collection Farm

As World War II ended in Europe in May 1945, shipping possibilities across the Atlantic became a reality for the Heifer Project. Hundreds of heifers were on hand across the country ready to be shipped to the east coast, and Roger and Olive Roop of Union Bridge, Maryland, saw a need. Lifelong members of the Church of the Brethren, they had been hearing and reading about the development of the Heifer Project. When the heifers for the Project’s second shipment to Puerto Rico in May 1945 were gathered at the fairgrounds in York, Pennsylvania, just up the road from the Roops, they drove up to see them.

Heifers ready for a May 1945 shipment to Puerto Rico are dedicated at the York Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Bill Beck.

Heifers ready for a May 1945 shipment to Puerto Rico are dedicated at the York Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Bill Beck.

Olive Roop, now 102 and living in Bridgewater, Virginia, told the youth of her church in a talk some decades ago, “What we saw [in York] made Roger feel that this was not a very suitable place for the collection, handling and shipment of cattle. The cattle were tied in stalls (no exercise)….”

When they got home from York, Roger and Olive talked it over and decided to offer their farm as a collection point. “Our barn had a loading chute, 4 large pens and we had about 15 acres of pasture divided into 3 paddocks,” Olive said. “Our 20 or so head of cattle could run on a back pasture. We were only two miles from the railroad and forty from the dock in Baltimore.” Being only six miles from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland, Roops also felt there would be Civilian Public Service men stationed there who might be able to help on the farm.

The Roger Roop farm in Union Bridge, Maryland, circa 1946. Photo courtesy of Kenneth West.

The Roger Roop farm in Union Bridge, Maryland, circa 1946. Photo courtesy of Kenneth West.

Thinking this was only to be a summer project, Roger and Olive drove to New Windsor and made the offer of use of their 15 acres and barn to the Heifer Project. Little did they know what was ahead for them. John Metzler, the coordinator of the Heifer Project at the time, reported to the Heifer Project Committee in their June 3, 1945, meeting that the Roop farm “has been offered to the HPC free of charge as a collecting point for cattle before shipment. He has adequate space to care for from 300 to 500 cattle at one time.” A motion was made and passed “that we accept the offer of Roger Roop for facilities for collecting cattle, using the service of one veterinarian.”

The Heifer Project was off and running. And so were Roger and Olive.

Next post: Activities of Heifer Project as Seen from Farm, Part I


9 thoughts on “The Roger Roop Heifer Project Collection Farm

  1. I am Patricia Roop Hollinger and grew up on this farm when heifers were gathered there. I never realized what an undertaking this was for my parents. I just believed responding to crisis around the world is what people were supposed to do. I cherish the values that my parents instilled in me with their wider vision of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I sailed on the SS Occidental Victory out of San Francisco early 1970. I sailed in the black gang with the MFOW union Hall in San Francisco as a wiper and oiler. We Headed up to Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay and loaded bombs for the Vietnam war. By this time the B-52 bombers were flying out of Thailand. Except for us stopping in the Philippines on Subic Bay to take on bunkers, we headed straight for Sattahip,Thailand (26 days) and the Deepwater piers. I had just turned 19. One of my most enjoyable and memorable times on the high seas. Wonderful crew and many fond experiences sailing for Matson lines charter by MSTS. I was sad to see SS Occidental Victory scrapped out at Beaumont Texas. Fortunately we still have the Red Oak Victory in Richmond. Going to sea was a special time in my early life.


    • Hello, Ken! Thanks for your comment. It’s always of interest to me to know what happened with the ships after the UNRRA livestock program finished in early 1947. So the Occidental Victory was still sailing in 1970. Wow. Interesting that she was used for the Vietnam War after being used for recovery from WWII. You may have seen the couple of posts in this blog on an Occidental Victory trip the end of 1946. As a livestock ship, she was one of the Victory ships that had livestock sheds only on the top deck. Glad you enjoyed your time on her and had such a great crew.


  3. It’s gives me a strange feeling to see the photos of the farm, mom and dad and Pat now – all these years later. One never imagined what was happening would be written about all these years later. It was an unusual growing up experience.


    • Thanks for your comment, Shirley. Your family played a large and important role in Heifer. I’m happy to be able to document that here. There will be two more posts coming. Hope you enjoy them. Please share them with your mom and give her my love!


  4. Good morning, Peggy. The photos with this post are much appreciated. Thank you for your time and diligence in collecting these photos and information. Thank you. Nelson Heatwole


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