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Bob Shearer, a 2018 Master Farmer, and his wife, Doreen Photo courtesy of Colleen Hershey
CELEBRATING THE MASTERS: Bob Shearer, a 2018 Master Farmer, and his wife, Doreen, attended the 2019 Master Farmer ceremony in Frederick, Md.

Inspiring evening in Maryland with 2019’s Master Farmers

It’s never too early to nominate someone who inspires you for 2020 Master Farmer.

I must admit, I don’t like speaking in public. I never liked attention being placed on me even if it’s for a good thing.

So, when I had to speak at July’s induction ceremony for the 2019 class of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers, I was very nervous.

First off, this was my first Master Farmer ceremony as editor.

Second, I didn’t want to “short” the Master Farmers. It’s an incredible honor to be named a Master Farmer, and one that very few farmers here in the Mid-Atlantic are bestowed. As the editor, it’s my responsibility to make sure these farmers’ stories are told in a way that shows why they are deserving of the award and why others should look up to them as examples of excellence in the field and in life.

My boss gave me some good advice before heading up to the podium: Stick to the script. Sounds simple, but it worked. And I stuck to the script, for the most part.

Photo courtesy of Colleen HersheyDavid Reinecker welcomes Peter Brummer into the 2019 class of Master Farmers

CELEBRATING PETER BRUMMER: David Reinecker (left), a past Master Farmer and president of the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers Association board, welcomes Peter Brummer into the 2019 class of Master Farmers.

It was easy because Peter Brummer, Jenny Rhodes, and Barron and Glenn Shaw inspire me in many ways; it didn’t take long for me to speak glowingly of them.

Pete inspires me with his incredible work ethic. He once sheared 10,000 sheep in one year to help pay for improvements and an expansion of the farm. Can you imagine shearing 10,000 sheep in one year? I can’t even shear one sheep.

Jenny inspires me because of her determination to succeed. Soon after buying a poultry farm with her husband, he left her. She was left alone to not only run the farm, but to also raise two children. I grew up in a single-parent household, so I’ve seen what it’s like to raise children alone.

Photo courtesy of Colleen HersheyDavid Reinecker welcomes Jenny Rhodes into the 2019 class of Master Farmers

CELEBRATING JENNY RHODES: Reinecker welcomes Maryland’s own Jenny Rhodes into the class of Master Farmers.

Today, Jenny is a celebrated farmer with more awards than I had room to include in my original Master Farmer article about her. And her two boys? They have become two young men with children of their own, and they’re both famers.

The Shaws inspire because of their sheer will to succeed even in the face of Mother Nature’s wrath. I told the story at the banquet of Glenn having to deal with hailstorms so severe that it nearly destroyed the fruit business in the 1980s. So, what did Glenn do? Rather than fold up shop, he cut his costs, rolled up his sleeves and planted new trees, determined to continue the operation.

Photo courtesy of Colleen HersheyDavid Reinecker welcomes Barron and Glenn Shaw as 2019 Master Farmers

CELEBRATING THE SHAWS: Reinecker (left) welcomes Barron and Glenn Shaw as 2019 Master Farmers.

We all have people who inspire us. They could be athletes, celebrities, politicians. Many people have inspired me in my life. I’m happy to say that these four Master Farmers are among them.

Nominate the 2020 Master Farmers

So, who will be the 2020 Master Farmers? It’s too early to say, of course, but it’s not too early to nominate them. Just send the name and contact information of whomever you would like to nominate to chris.torres@farmprogress.com. We will also be posting the 2020 application online on the American Agriculturist website.

Think of someone who is not only a great farmer, but also a leader in the ag community and beyond. Most importantly, though, think of someone who inspires you.

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