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Nominate a Master Farmer for 2023

Applications are available for the 2023 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer award, recognizing the lifetime achievements of Illinois agriculturists.

Sierra Day

April 26, 2022

2 Min Read
2022 Prairie Farmer Master Farmers Curt Zehr, Jim Raben, Doug Schroeder and Darryl Brinkmann
2022 WINNERS: Curt Zehr (left) of Washington, Ill.; Jim Raben of Ridgway, Ill.; Doug Schroeder of Mahomet, Ill.; and Darryl Brinkmann of Carlyle, Ill.; were recognized as 2022 Prairie Farmer Master Farmers at the annual luncheon in March. Sierra Day

Think about the farmer down the road, going above and beyond on the farm and in the community. Has he or she ever been nominated for the Prairie Farmer Master Farmer award? If not, now is your chance to help them earn some deserved recognition!

Prairie Farmer is accepting applications for the 2023 Master Farmer award until Aug. 26.

The nominee may be a sibling, neighbor, friend, your parents or even yourself.

That’s right — farmers can nominate themselves; many farmers submit their own names each year. Feel free to nominate or apply as an individual, a farm couple or siblings. Nominations for couples and sibling partnerships are not uncommon. In 2016, four farm couples received the award. Siblings Doug and Tom Block, who farm in partnership, were named Master Farmers in 2009, joining a list of names that’s grown beyond 350.

The 2023 application form is available online. Download it, fill it out and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Aug. 26. For more information or to have an application sent to you, email [email protected].

You will need at least eight recommendation letters to support your nomination. The selection committee focuses on growth of the operation over time, agriculture productivity and community involvement.

The selection committee will be comprised of Illinois agricultural leaders, including experts in agronomy and agricultural finance, past Master Farmers, agricultural research or university authorities, and Prairie Farmer editorial staff.

What’s it take to be a Master Farmer? Here’s a look:

  • Candidates must farm in Illinois, deriving the majority of their income from agricultural production.

  • Successful nominees will have proven ag production records, be recognized as leaders in their community, and will have given back to the community in substantive ways.

  • Candidates may be individuals, couples or siblings; judging is equally weighted.

  • Each nominee should be actively engaged in full-time production agriculture.

The Master Farmer award was founded in 1925 to recognize farmers for their achievements within production agriculture and within their communities. Today, with sponsorship help from Growmark, Prairie Farmer continues to honor the work and values of Master Farmers, both on and off the farm.

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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