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Richard Law
DECADES OF HARD WORK: Richard Law is 80 years young and still going strong. He and this year’s other Master Farmers have done their fair share of hard work in various forms throughout their careers.

Hard work paves way to success

The 2019 Master Farmers have one thing in common: They all know the value of hard work.

Richard Law, Atlanta, Ind., has done his fair share of hard work. In fact, if you ask those who nominated and supported him as a Master Farmer candidate, he is one of the hardest-working people around.

How you interpret “hard work” depends on your definition. If it’s physical labor, Law qualifies. He returned to the farm to help his father when they raised 200 sows the old-fashioned way, without confinement barns and automated feeders. If hard work is about making business decisions, he’s done that, too. He and his two brothers started Law Farms Elevator in 1978 and continue today buying grain from neighboring farmers.

Law is one of four Master Farmers, plus an Honorary Master Farmer, selected for the 2019 class. This marks the 51st year of the modern Master Farmer program, which began in 1968. The program is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Awards are presented during the evening program of the Purdue Farm Management Tour.

This year’s winners were nominated by their peers. Judges included Karen Plaut, dean of Purdue Agriculture; Jim Mintert, director of Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture; and Don Villwock, a 1985 Master Farmer.

Master Farmer awardees

Read more about Law on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of the rest of this year’s class; watch the website this week for more in-depth stories.

David Lee, Salem, Ind., shares something in common with Law. He has worked hard both as a laborer and a businessman to make his farm successful. He and his son-in-law put in countless hours to maintain a large operation in an area not known for big farms.

Lee will attest that he doesn’t have much flat land, except for river bottoms. Still, he has pounded out a living for his family, raising crops and setting an example for neighbors along the way. He doesn’t operate a grain elevator like Law; he bought one instead. When a local co-op sold out, he purchased the facility in a small town to serve as his grain center. Read Lee’s stories on Wednesday.

Several counties to the north, Ronnie and Sarah Mohr and family operate a grain farm at Greenfield, Ind. Ronnie has represented farmer-members on the board of directors of a major national co-op, Land O’Lakes. That endeavor requires a different kind of work, plus hours away from the farm.

Ronnie says he’s benefited from the experience, and believes the efforts of the directors helped put the co-op on a solid footing for the future. Learn more about the Mohrs on Thursday.

You’ll find Roger and Mary Beth Wenning in southeast Indiana, just east of Greensburg. An early adapter of cover crops, Roger has improved the health of soils that aren’t known for raising good crops. Yet his yields consistently top trend yields.

He’s also a believer in tiling, and he and his son Nick operate a tiling and excavation business. Read about the Wennings and their hard work on Friday.

Growing up on a farm, the Honorary Master Farmer is no stranger to hard work either. Mark Sigler, chief operating officer of Indiana Farm Bureau Inc., puts in his longest hours working with INFB staff and members across the state to promote the best interests of farmers. Sigler’s stories will run on Saturday.

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