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Master Farmer highlight: Dale Hadden

This 2020 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer sees family, education and conservation as top priorities.

Sierra Day, Field editor

September 8, 2021

1 Min Read
Holly Spangler presents Dale Hadden and wife Amy the Master Farmer award
EXCEPTIONAL FARMER: Dale Hadden received the 2020 Master Farmer award. He and wife Amy (right) were recognized at the 2021 Farm Progress Show due to the 2020 awards program being canceled because of the pandemic. They are pictured with Prairie Farmer editor Holly Spangler. Sierra Day

Dale Hadden of Jacksonville, Ill., is a 2020 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer award winner. Dale and seven other Master Farmers were recognized for their accomplishments at the Farm Progress Show on Sept. 2.

Today, Dale, wife Amy and their two children raise 6,800 acres of corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, hay and pasture, plus 280 head of beef cattle, with Dale’s parents and brothers. Dale was nominated by 2001 Master Farmer Philip Nelson.

He admits coming back to the farm and expanding has not been easy, but diversification has helped.

“While we have been growing at a steady pace, there have been setbacks, like losing a 50-50 crop share farm when the landlord switched to cash rent,” Dale says. “While these bumps in the operation are usually very upsetting to the cash flow, the good Lord has provided other opportunities.”

Dale, as well as the other 2020 Master Farmers, were unable to be recognized at the annual Master Farmer awards luncheon due to the pandemic. Therefore, a combined 2020 and 2021 awards program emceed by farm broadcaster Max Armstrong was held during the recent Farm Progress Show.

To learn more about what makes Dale an exceptional farmer, read his story. Also, be sure to watch his video below:


About the Author(s)

Sierra Day

Field editor, Farm Progress

A 10th-generation agriculturist, Sierra Day grew up alongside the Angus cattle, corn and soybeans on her family’s operation in Cerro Gordo, Ill. Although she spent an equal amount in farm machinery as she did in the cattle barn as a child, Day developed a bigger passion for the cattle side of the things.

An active member of organizations such as 4-H, FFA and the National Junior Angus Association, she was able to show Angus cattle on the local, state and national levels while participating in contests and leadership opportunities that were presented through these programs.

As Day got older, she began to understand the importance of transitioning from a member to a mentor for other youth in the industry. Thus, her professional and career focus is centered around educating agriculture producers and youth to aid in prospering the agriculture industry.

In 2018, she received her associate degree from Lake Land College, where her time was spent as an active member in clubs such as Ag Transfer club and PAS. A December 2020 graduate of Kansas State University in Animal Sciences & Industry and Agricultural Communications & Journalism, Day was active in Block & Bridle and Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow, while also serving as a communications student worker in the animal science department.

Day currently resides back home where she owns and operates Day Cattle Farm with her younger brother, Chayton. The duo strives to raise functional cattle that are show ring quality and a solid foundation for building anyone’s herd.

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