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Masters head to Mountain State

My Take: Check out highlights from this year’s Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers banquet and tour.

Chris Torres, Editor, American Agriculturist

August 1, 2023

7 Slides

I normally don’t go to West Virginia that much. I don’t know why; it is less than 2.5 hours from my house. But it has become a second home to me this year.

That was bound to happen when I found out that three of this year’s Master Farmers hailed from the Mountain State.

American Agriculturist, along with the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers Association, puts on the annual Master Farmers event and tour. More than 80 people attended this year’s banquet at Cacapon State Park Resort in Berkeley Springs. The banquet honored the 2023 Master Farmers: Bill and Matthew Beam, Bill and Jim Martin, and Robert Taylor.

The next day, about 30 people went on the annual tour. Stops included a tour of The Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown; the USDA’s Appalachian Fruit Research Center in Kearneysville; Lyle C. Tabb and Sons Composting, also in Kearneysville; and Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg.

Click on the slideshow to see highlights from this year’s event. And mark your calendars for next July as the banquet and tour will be held in Chester County, Pa.

Nominate for 2024

It is not too early to nominate a Master Farmer candidate for 2024. We’re looking for great candidates from the five-state Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer region of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the farm is. We’re just looking for the most qualified candidates for this prestigious award.

While farm couples or partners may be nominated, farm family businesses don’t qualify. This award recognizes outstanding individuals.

Nominations for the 2024 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award are due Jan. 1. But the sooner we get names, the better.

Email your nominations — include name, complete address and contact information — to [email protected] or send it by mail to Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Program, P.O. Box 734, Richland, PA  17087.

The Master Farmer Award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist and Cooperative Extensions in the five mid-Atlantic states.

Check out videos featuring this year’s Master Farmers below:

Read more about:

Master Farmers

About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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