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Tom Bauman Earned Title of Honorary Master FarmerTom Bauman Earned Title of Honorary Master Farmer

Weed control specialist still active in weed studies.

Tom Bechman 1

July 29, 2010

2 Min Read

Tom Bauman selected which seeds to plant and which chemicals to use each spring. He made sure the ground was prepared properly, and the seed was planted. Then he typically handled spraying himself, using a variety of products. It was like his own giant test plot, only on weed control products, not hybrids and variety. Then in the fall, he would supervise harvest and pore over the results to see which combinations worked out the best.

So Tom Bauman sounds like a typical farmer right? Choosing seed? Supervising work? Spraying chemicals? No, instead he is a Purdue University weed control Extension researcher, and has been for 34 years, all spent at Purdue. Since he can't technically qualify for the Master Farmer award, he can certainly qualify for and receive the honorary Master Farmer award.

This award is presented when deemed worthy. The goal is to honor one whose service has been good or other Indiana farmers, but who does not farm land themselves. The same committee that selects the Master Farmers puts its seal of approval on Honorary Master Farmers.

Instead of getting equipment ready for the next season during the winter, although his crew did that under his supervision, Bauman went on long trips all over Indiana, helping local Extension agents conduct pesticide training, and giving programs to help farmers have a better grasp of the weed control products available for their use. He has talked in counties from one end of Indiana to the other, and from one side to the other.

Recounting memories of his career, Bauman notes that it ranges all the way from doing studies to control weeds by propane flame, even before he was on staff, to recommending how to best use modern technologies, including Roundup Ready and Liberty Link products.

He's never been afraid of a challenge. And along the way, he's helped farmers face challenges in learning how to control weeds in no-till, and in understanding how weeds can grow resistant to a certain product if that product is used over and over again, especially in the same crop year after year.

For his part, he's grateful to the people who have helped him, including the late Jim Williams, a Purdue weed control specialist, Merrill Ross, the current staff, Mike White, his assistant, and many, many more. Bauman, 70, has not yet announced his retirement plans.

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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