Who do you know that deserves the Master Farmer award?
Think about the people who inspire you, like your parents, your sibling, your neighbors, a friend or a colleague. Perhaps 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 readers. Who is outstanding at producing food and fiber, while serving their community and raising their family? Think about that person — or couple — and nominate them.
You can also apply on your own, effectively nominating yourself. Many farmers submit their own names each year.
The Master Farmer application makes it clear that you can nominate or apply as an individual, or as a husband and wife. In 2016, four farm couples received the Master Farmer award. Siblings can also be nominated, as was the case for Doug and Tom Block, who farm in partnership and were named Master Farmers in 2009.
Over the years, Prairie Farmer has judged a lot of nomination applications. Here’s what works best:
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.
Get letters. Ask for at least 10 recommendation letters to support your nomination. These letters give insight to character and reputation.
Think small. 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, and the application reflects an entire career.
Find the application
You can find the 2019 application online. Download it, fill it out and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Sept. 10. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to have an application sent to you.
Thanks to judges
Prairie Farmer is grateful to the 2018 panel of judges for selecting this year’s Master Farmers.
• Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics
• Linnea Kooistra, 2011 Master Farmer
• Ed McMillan, University of Illinois board of trustees chairman
• Steve Myers, Busey Ag Services
• Thomas Tracy, Farm Credit Illinois
• Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor