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Master Farmer nominations due Sept. 7

past Prairie Farmer Master Farmer honorees
ROLL CALL: The last four Master Farmer classes are (clockwise, top left): 2020’s Ted Mottaz, Joe Pickrell, Susan and John Adams, Dale Hadden; 2019’s Bill Sahs, Boyd Schaufelberger, Jim Robbins, Marty Marr; 2017’s Tracy Jones, Allen Entwistle, Joel Kooistra, Kent Kleinschmidt; 2018’s Darell Sarff, Fred Reichert, Jim Rapp, Tom Martin.
Prairie Farmer’s premier award recognizing lifetime achievers in Illinois agriculture is open for nominations.

Do you know Illinois ag producers who have spent a lifetime getting involved in their community while raising the best livestock and crops around? Nominate them for Prairie Farmer’s Master Farmer award, run by the magazine since 1925 to recognize those who lead by example in the state’s agricultural community.

Farmers can also nominate themselves; 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. The application form to nominate a 2021 Master Farmer is available online. Download it, fill it out and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Sept. 7.

You will need at least 10 recommendation letters to support your nomination, and the selection committee also will want to talk with the nominee’s lender. This isn’t to share detailed accounting information, but rather to talk generally about the nominee’s career.

In 2020, three farmers and one farming couple were inducted into the Master Farmer group. Those selected for the 2021 award will receive a plaque and coverage in the March magazine, along with recognition at the annual Master Farmer awards banquet. The 2020 banquet had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will be held as soon as possible.

Last year’s awardees are Joe Pickrell of Buffalo, Susan and John Adams of Atlanta, Ted Mottaz of Elmwood and Dale Hadden of Jacksonville.

If you have any questions about this once-in-a-lifetime award, email for more information or to have an application form 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, First Midwest Bank
  • Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor
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