Take a look around your farming community, around your family, and around the boards and committees you serve on. More than likely, there’s someone you could nominate as a 2020 Iowa Master Farmer. Maybe it’s someone you’ve served with or worked with, or someone you’ve watched and have long respected.
The Iowa Master Farmer Award, sponsored by Wallaces Farmer, is a grassroots program. It survives and relies on your nominations. You can find a nomination form at WallacesFarmer.com. After opening our website, click on “Farm Business” and look for “Master Farmer.”
You’ll find a nomination form to download. Fill it out and send it in to us, complete with letters of support by Oct. 1. Or you can write or call for a nomination form. Write to Wallaces Farmer, Master Farmers, 6200 Aurora Ave., Suite 203E, Urbandale, IA 50322 or call the office at 515-505-1540.
Longtime farmer honor
Started in 1926, the Iowa Master Farmer program is the longest-running farmer recognition in the United States. Henry A. Wallace, editor of Wallaces Farmer from 1921 to 1933, initiated the award to call attention to Iowa farmers who not only demonstrate outstanding management in their farming operations, but also provide leadership in the local community, or in state and national organizations.
When Wallace instituted the award, it made perfect sense to use the magazine’s motto, “Good Farming, Clear Thinking, Right Living,” as the basis for judging Master Farmer nominations. This still holds true today. Award nominees are held to a higher standard of ethics, requiring that Iowa Master Farmers to not only skillfully manage their farms and market their products, but also invest time and resources in pursuit of a successful family and community life.
The 83rd class of Master Farmers was honored this year, bringing the total to 485 Iowa families who have been honored since the program began. In recent years, four winners have been awarded annually.
In selecting a Master Farmer, judges consider operation of the farm, how the nominee got started, and how the person has grown the operation. Those who are good stewards of the land and give proper care to livestock receive high marks. An interest in farm organizations, both in membership and leadership, bodes well.
Note that this is a family award. Farming is a true partnership between husband and wife. All members of the family contribute to the success of the operation. Anyone can nominate a Master Farmer: father, spouse, neighbor, children, Extension directors and specialists, etc. Letters of support from community leaders, pastors, co-op managers, neighbors and others should accompany the nomination.
Please give this some thought and send your nomination in by Oct. 1. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners are recognized at the annual Master Farmer Awards Day in March. Members of the new class are announced on our website and in the March issue of Wallaces Farmer.