Farm Progress

Honorary Master Farmers include many great Hoosiers

These individuals represent hundreds of years of service to Indiana agriculture.

December 15, 2016

3 Min Read
HONORING GREAT HOOSIERS: Mauri Williamson was one of the first Hoosiers honored as an Honorary Master Farmer. He was in rare form at Pioneer Village at the 2016 Indiana State Fair.

Now is the time to nominate Master Farmers for 2017. Visit the Master Farmer section at Nominations are due Feb. 15.

Other people serve agriculture besides farmers. Here’s a look back at some Honorary Master Farmers honored in the past. If you have a suggestion for a future Honorary Master Farmer, pass it along to: Indiana Prairie Farmer, P.O. Box 247, Franklin, IN 46131, or email: [email protected]. You don’t have to fill out a nomination form.

Mauri Williamson. He was one of the first Honorary Master Farmers named in the modern era. Williamson was the longtime executive director of the Purdue University Ag Alumni Association, and is the inspiration behind Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair.

Hobe Jones. A Cass County native, Jones taught in the Purdue Animal Sciences Department for 38 years. He helped hog producers statewide transition from pasture farrowing to farrow-to-finish confinement systems. Jones passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.

Howard Doster. This Ohio farm boy received all three degrees from Ohio State University before becoming an Extension ag economist at Purdue. He helped found the Top Farmer Crop Workshop and coordinated it for decades. He also taught many classes, and coordinated the Indiana Farm Management Tour. He was honored in 2004.

Jim Newman. Another Ohio farm boy, Newman joined the Purdue Agronomy Department staff in 1950. He did ground-breaking work on the El Nino/La Nina cycle and was recognized internationally. The Extension ag climatologist also authored articles in Indiana Farmer’s Guide, which later became part of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He contributed to numerous Prairie Farmer articles, and wrote a well-read weather column for many years. He was recognized in 2005.

Max Armstrong. This popular farm broadcaster hails from Princeton. Famous for his broadcasts on WGN in Chicago, Armstrong now co-hosts a weekly farm show, “This Week in AgriBusiness,” on RFD-TV, and is in charge of broadcasting ventures for Penton Media, including radio shows over the Farm Progress America network. This Indiana favorite son returned to help honor new Master Farmers in 2015 and 2016. He received his award in 2006.

David Petritz. This Illinois farm boy joined the Purdue University ag economics staff as an Extension ag economist in 1972. He specialized in hay and forage analysis and many other areas during his 27-year stint in the department. In 1999, Petritz became the sixth director of Purdue University Extension. He held that position until he retired in 2007. That was the same year he was recognized as an Honorary Master Farmer

Tom Turpin. One of Purdue’s best-known Extension entomologists, Turpin spices up talks with cockroach races, edible mealworms and much more. He has appeared on late-night talk shows and is in demand as an after-dinner speaker. He’s best known for his outstanding teaching methods with both students and farmers. He founded the Bug Bowl in 1990 as a teaching aid. Turpin was honored in 2008.

Bruce McKenzie. Many farmsteads around Indiana that have grain storage facilities still bear the mark of McKenzie. He retired in 1993 after more than 40 years as an Purdue Extension ag engineer specializing in laying out grain storage systems. Like Hobe Jones in the swine industry, McKenzie helped farmers transition from ear corn cribs to modern grain facilities, always keeping an eye on future growth. He was honored in 2009.

Check back next week for bios on Indiana's remaining Honorary Master Farmers.

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