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Finally, a chance to say thank you

Master Farmer medallion
The annual Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers banquet will be held Nov. 4.

I hope you had the chance to make it out to a farm show this year.

In this job, I’m lucky. I get to go on my company’s dime to shows and get the kind of access to people and equipment that many would only dream of. But my job is to share what I find with you, the readers, so you can make a better decision on that tractor you want to purchase, or that robotic milker that you’ve been thinking about installing.

So, yes, shows are fun, but they’re also a big responsibility, and a lot of work. I was privileged to attend Farm Progress Show in early September and World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, so look for stories in the coming days on what I found at this year’s shows.

But there’s another part of my job that’s also a big responsibility and a lot of work, but just as fun as covering a show. Each year, even when there’s a pandemic, we name an exclusive group of farmers as Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers.

This is one of the best parts of my job because I get to present a prestigious award to hardworking and deserving individuals. I’ve learned a lot from the Master Farmers in my three years as editor. It’s one of the best parts of my job.

But the past year and a half tested all of us. In 2020, we had to cancel the annual Master Farmers banquet and tour out of an abundance of caution. I didn’t know what this year would bring. All the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic forced us to push back the banquet and tour, usually held in July, to a later date this year.

Well, here we are, and I’m glad to say that I’m finally going to get a chance to present the Master Farmer awards to the 2020 and 2021 winners.

If you forgot who the winners were, here’s a quick rundown: Arlin and Deborah Benner, Mount Joy, Pa.; Gary and Cindy Grossnickle, Frederick, Md.; Mark and Mike Orr, Martinsburg, W.Va.; P. Thomas and Alice Mason, Chestertown, Md.; John and Aimee Good, Germansville, Pa; and Brad and Kay Hollabaugh, Biglerville, Pa.

There won’t be a tour, but the banquet is moving forward. Most importantly, these Master Farmers will finally receive the awards they deserve. I’m looking forward to it, and if you don’t have plans for Nov. 4, make plans to attend the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers Banquet at Strock Enterprises, 729 Williams Grove Road, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The cost is $50 to attend. Visit to reserve your tickets. The banquet starts at 4:30 p.m. with cocktails, and the dinner and awards start at 6 p.m.

And don’t forget to nominate your 2022 Master Farmer. Think about someone who has inspired you over the years. It could be a neighbor, your mother or father, a sibling, or someone you’ve served with on a board.

Less than 1% of all farmers in the mid-Atlantic region have been bestowed the honor of Master Farmer over the years. It’s the “gold standard” award that recognizes a farmer’s achievements on and off the farm.

We’re looking for great candidates from the five-state Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer region of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the farm is. We’re just looking for the most qualified candidates for this prestigious award.

While farm couples or partners may be nominated, farm family businesses don’t qualify. This award recognizes outstanding individuals.

Nominations for the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Award are due Feb. 1, 2022. But the sooner we get names the better. 

Fill out an online application or email your nominations — include name, complete address and contact information — to [email protected], or send it by mail to Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Program, P.O. Box 734, Richland, PA  17087.

The Master Farmer Award is co-sponsored by American Agriculturist, Cooperative Extensions in the five Mid-Atlantic states, and Growmark. Hope to see you Nov. 4!

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