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Nominate a deserving neighbor or friend by Feb. 15.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

January 14, 2013

2 Min Read

Many times during the year I visit a farm and wonder why the farm operator or owner hasn't received a Master Farmer award. They do an excellent job of farming, as evidenced by how they take care of their machinery and by the appearance of their crops. They've raised a family of successful kids. Both the farmer and his wife are active in community organizations. This is just the type of person that would make a great representative for agriculture, and a great Master Farmer.


There's just one problem – I can't nominate the person. My job is to facilitate the contest by inviting others to nominate candidates, assemble those nominations and see that they are judged. I'm not even a judge. Unless someone else goes the extra mile and nominates the person, they will remain well-respected locally and just as successful, but their value to the community and perhaps the state will remain a secret.

If there's someone you look up to who hasn't received the Master Farmer award, now is the time you can do something about it. The nomination form is on the Website at: We can also send you a form if you call 317-738-0565 or email: [email protected].

Your job as a nominator is to supply information about the person, either by asking them, or if you want to make it a surprise, working with a family member, employee, or both. Document how the person is innovative at farming, but also what they do to help their community.

One of the important parts of the process is obtaining six letters of support from people who know the nominee. The nominator typically writes a letter as one of the six. The judges look to these letters to gain insight into what others think about this person, and why they look up to them.

We'll be looking for an entry from you. Send it to Indiana Prairie Farmer, P.O. Box 247, Franklin, IN 46131. The entry must be postmarked by Feb. 15.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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