The celebration of Michigan’s finest farmers won’t be the usual because of COVID-19, but the revered Michigan Master Farmer award still carries with it agriculture’s highest honor — even without an audience.
If agriculture had an Academy Awards, three Michigan farmers would be in line to receive the equivalent of an Oscar for starring in outstanding farm management, innovation, conservation and leadership.
For each of the past 17 years, Michigan Farmer has bestowed the prestigious Master Farmer award on three people who have demonstrated how to farm more effectively, efficiently, environmentally and economically.
This year’s winners are Frank Vyskocil of New Lothrop, Waldron Farms of Stanton and Jim Wilson of Yale. Stories highlighting their farming careers will appear on michiganfarmer.com over the next three days.
The winners are normally awarded and celebrated during a luncheon at the Great Lakes Crop Summit, but the event was canceled this year because of the pandemic. Plans are now to award this year’s winners, as well as next year’s recipients, at the 2022 GLCS, which is sponsored by the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Michigan Wheat Program and Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.
The award acknowledges a lifetime of achievement and not a single year. Master Farmers are nominated by peers and are chosen by a committee of agriculture industry leaders.
Videos of the winners, traditionally shown during the awards luncheon, are produced by sponsor Brownfield Ag News. Those videos accompany the online stories.
Master Farmers receive a plaque and a pin from Michigan Farmer magazine and a Carhartt jacket, donated by Carhartt. They also receive a $1,000 check, made possible by sponsors Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Greenstone Farm Credit Services and Wilbur-Ellis.
Michigan Master Farmers
Here is a list of past winners:
2005. Fred Tubbs, Mark Huggett, Walter Stafford
2006. Dennis Hasenick, Bob Dykhuis, Dave Morris (honorary)
2007. Pete Clark, Wally Huggett, Armon Southworth
2008. John Crumbaugh, Todd Young, Kurt Ewald
2009. Andy Snider, Dale Weburg, George Weburg, Clark Humrich
2010. Paul Rood, Jeffery Sandborn, Carl Moore
2011. Ken Swanson, Gary Bardenhagen, Bill Irrer
2012. Ronald Helmreich, John Felzke, Frank Lipinski
2013. Earl Barks, John Swanson, Tony Jandernoa
2014. Richard Dobbins, John Schaendorf, Harley Sietsema
2015. Olan and Kent Humm, Robert “Alan” Moore, Richard Lauwers
2016. Delbert Crumbaugh, Brian Haskin, Andy Welden
2017. Tim Brodbeck, David Williams, Ken and Ida Wadsworth
2018. Ed Cagney, Tom Braid, Robert Ohse
2019. Bruce Noll, Dean Haubenstricker, Jim Domagalski
2020. Clark Gerstacker, Kevin Winkel