Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: IL

How to nominate a Master Farmer for 2021

2020 Master Farmers are Joe PIckrell (left), Susan and John Adams, Ted Mottaz, and Dale Hadden
WINNERS: 2020 Master Farmers were nominated by past Master Farmers, commodity groups and family. They are Joe Pickrell (left), Susan and John Adams, Ted Mottaz, and Dale Hadden.
Do you know someone who should be named a Master Farmer next year? Here’s how you can nominate them.

Have you ever considered nominating someone to be a Master Farmer?

Maybe your parents, your sibling, your neighbors, a friend or a colleague. Someone you’ve served with on a board, or someone you’ve long looked up to.

Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer program is a grassroots program. That means every nomination comes from you, the readers. You all look around, see someone doing great work in producing food and fiber while serving their community and raising their family, and you nominate them.

And don’t forget: You can also apply on your own, effectively nominating yourself. Many farmers submit their own names each year. You can nominate or apply as an individual, as a husband and wife, or even as siblings.

Winning tips

Over the years, Prairie Farmer has judged a lot of nomination forms. Here’s what works:

Be thorough. In the sections asking about farm history and growth, more information is better than less. Share how the individual(s) got started and show how their operation has progressed.

Be specific. The more details you can provide, the better and more complete picture you give to the judges.

Get information. Nominating someone in secret is a fantastic surprise, but it’s also tricky to do unless you have first-hand knowledge of the operation. The best secret nominations come from a son, daughter, spouse or sibling with intimate knowledge of the farm.

Get help. You’ll need at least 10 recommendation letters to support your nomination. These letters tell the story of your nominee’s character and are incredibly helpful to the judges.

Think broadly. When listing community and industry work, consider the nominee’s entire body of work. For spouses or siblings, list both individuals’ activities, noting who did what.

Start early. It’s not a quick process to nominate a Master Farmer. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime award, with an application that reflects an entire career.

You can find the 2021 Master Farmer application online. Download it, fill it out, and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Sept. 7.

Email [email protected] for more information or to have an application sent to you.

Judging thanks

Prairie Farmer is grateful to the 2020 panel of judges for sorting through and selecting this year’s Master Farmers. They are:

  • Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics
  • Ed McMillan, University of Illinois board of trustees
  • Linnea Kooistra, 2011 Master Farmer
  • Steve Myers, Busey Ag Services
  • Dwight Raab, Illinois FBFM (formerly)
  • Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.