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Master Farmers Named For Class of 2014!

Five families and one individual honored at Monday evening banquet.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

June 13, 2014

2 Min Read

Now we can reveal who the 2014 Master Farmers are! The awardees were recognized at an awards banquet which doubled as the evening program for the Indiana Farm Management tour on Monday evening. The event was held at the Spencer County Fairgrounds near Chrisney.

The Indiana Farm Management tour is in Spencer and Dubois Counties this year. It concludes with stops today and a noon luncheon featuring Larry and Scott Vollmer talking about turkey production, plus Chris Hurt delivering an economic outlook.


The Master Famer program is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. This is the fourth year that the banquet has been held in conjunction with the Indiana Farm Management tour.

The awardees this year include: Jack and Rita Maloney, Brownsburg; David and Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer; Carl and Delene Schmitz, Wadesville and Mike and Karen Starkey, also of Brownsburg.

It's the first time in recent memory that two farmers, Maloney and Starkey, have been recognized from the same county in the same year. The two are neighbors, living about three miles apart, and follow similar farming practices. Each wrote a letter of support for the award for the other, while neither knew they were nominated for the award!

Related: It's Master Farmer Season

Another unusual event occurred this year. Jack Rodibaugh, David's father, was named a Master Farmer in 1974. Danita's dad, the late Thomas Howell, Greentown, was named a Master Farmer in 1979. Now both join their parents as Master Farmers. Jack Maloney's dad, the late John Maloney, was named a Master Farmer in 1978.

Also this year Bill Field received the Honorary Master Farmer award. It is given at the discretion of the judges to an individual who doesn't farm, but who has made great contributions to Indiana agriculture. Field is the Extension farm safety specialist at Purdue University.

Last year, Fred Whitford, the Purdue University Extension Pesticide Coordinator, was honored with the Honorary Master Farmer award.

Read more about the winners this week here on the Website.

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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