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Time’s running out to nominate 2020 Master Farmers

Applications for Prairie Farmer’s lifetime achievement award for farmers are due Sept. 9.

Austin Keating, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

August 7, 2019

2 Min Read
past Master Farmers collage
MASTERS: The last four Master Farmer classes are (clockwise, top left): 2019’s Bill Sahs, Boyd Schaufelberger, Jim Robbins, Marty Marr; 2018’s Darell Sarff, Fred Reichert, Jim Rapp, Tom Martin; 2016’s Norma Jean and Reggie Dowell, Karen and Mark DeDecker, Brenda and Bill Raben, Julie and Ron Lawfer; 2017’s Tracy Jones, Allen Entwistle, Joel Kooistra, Kent Kleinschmidt.

Prairie Farmer will continue accepting applications for 2020 Master Farmers until Sept. 1.

A Master Farmer is a person in your community who shows up, who volunteers and who makes the community better, all while raising a family and producing the best crops and livestock around. Prairie Farmer is looking to honor a new class of Master Farmers in 2020 — but your help is needed.

You can nominate parents, siblings, neighbors, friends or even yourself. Don’t wait, as this lifetime achievement award is competitive, and applications require time to fill out before they close in September.

You can nominate individuals, a husband and wife, or a sibling duo. In 2016, four farm couples received the award. Siblings Doug and Tom Block, who farm in partnership, were named Master Farmers in 2009. They joined a list of names that now tops 350.

Community involvement is weighted highly as judges select winners, but so too is a farmer’s agricultural production skills and dedication to family.

Prairie Farmer agrees wholeheartedly with one farmer who wrote in support of his friend who was named a Master Farmer: “In my view, a Master Farmer needs to be an individual who does well with their farm, and in their local community, but sees the importance of also working for the greater community represented by farm organizations.”

In his speech at the annual awards luncheon, 2018 recipient Bill Sahs of Lincoln, Ill., reflected on the deep appreciation the honorees feel for their profession. “It is quite an honor to get an award for doing things that you love,” Sahs said.

You can find the 2020 application online. Download it, fill it out and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Sept. 9. Email [email protected] for more information or to have an application sent to you.

About the Author(s)

Austin Keating

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

Austin Keating is the newest addition to the Farm Progress editorial team working as an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine. Austin was born and raised in Mattoon and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism. Following graduation in 2016, he worked as a science writer and videographer for the university’s supercomputing center. In June 2018, Austin obtained a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where he was the campus correspondent for Planet Forward and a Comer scholar.

Austin is passionate about distilling agricultural science as a service for readers and creating engaging content for viewers. During his time at UI, he won two best feature story awards from the student organization JAMS — Journalism Advertising and Media Students — as well as a best news story award.

Austin lives in Charleston. He can sometimes be found at his family’s restaurant the Alamo Steakhouse and Saloon in Mattoon, or on the Embarrass River kayaking. Austin is also a 3D printing and modeling hobbyist.

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