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2017 Prairie Farmer Master Farmers
RESPECTED: The 2017 Master Farmers are (from left) Kent Kleinschmidt, Joel Kooistra, Allen Entwistle and Tracy Jones.

They said it: Master Farmers

Here’s a look at what the people who know them best have to say about the 2017 Prairie Farmer Master Farmers.

For many Master Farmers, the opportunity to read the letters of support sent in on their behalf is a humbling and honoring experience. Here’s a look at what some of their closest friends, associates and colleagues have to say about each member of the Master Farmer Class of 2017.

Allen Entwistle
“Allen epitomizes what an agriculture leader is. He is an engaging individual who has gone to great lengths to get people involved in our industry, from politics to livestock and production agriculture.”
Philip Nelson, Seneca

“Always an avid fan of the Illinois State Fair, Allen has been vital in raising money and recognition for this event, and was instrumental in bringing farm equipment and machinery exhibits back to the state fairgrounds. Bringing agriculture back as a cornerstone for the state fair has always been a priority for Allen.”
John Sullivan, former Illinois senator

“Perfection is a word that is synonymous with Allen. If he chooses to do something, it’s going to be the best it can be. He sees no reason to take on a project and then give it only a weak effort. He is one of the top stewards of the land in Sangamon County because he cares deeply about protecting and nurturing his operation through tiling, conservation-tillage techniques and more.”
Larry Beaty, president, Sangamon County Farm Bureau

“Allen is a significant corn and bean farmer here in central Illinois. It’s the way that he understands that farming — feeding the world — is not just about driving a tractor. Without people like Allen building our image with the consumers who are our customers — letting them know their food is safe, secure and sustainable — none of us will be in business tomorrow.”
Evelyn Brandt Thomas, Brandt Consolidated

Tracy Jones
“Tracy exemplifies all that is right about modern-day agricultural producers.”
Landon Faivre, lead director, Agribusiness Banking

“Tracy has not only raised a great family and grown his operation, but has dedicated his life to helping his fellow farmers on a local and state level.”
Scott Langemeier, nutritionist, Heart Land Consulting

“Tracy has shown a great understanding of the needs of the local producer and is ready to work with other producers to hear their visions of what they are looking for in a cooperative partner.”
Phillip Farrell, general manager,  CHS Elburn

“Tracy finds time for everyone and is a great example of what a public servant should be like.”
Mark Pietrowski Jr., chairman, DeKalb County Board

Kent Kleinschmidt
“Over the years, Kent has earned the respect of farmers all over Illinois and all over the U.S. with his good sense of humor, his thoughtful dissent and debate, and his encouragement of farmer-leaders everywhere.”
Rod Weinzierl, IL Corn

“I have always known Kent to dive into the task at hand, and he commits the time it takes to do the work. Whether it is state of Illinois issues or U.S. agriculture issues, I have always been able to count on Kent to help.”
Len Corzine, Assumption

“One accomplishment near and dear to Kent’s heart is raising sweet corn for the local Peoria Area Food Bank. For the last several years as director of this project, many tons have been donated to the food bank for people truly in need.”
Brian Puetz, Illinois Farm Bureau

“I know I speak for the local farmers in our area when I say that Kent is well-respected, and the kind of guy that gets stuff done. He’s a profitable farmer, but he isn’t a flashy farmer, and he’s always kept a level head about all of the success he’s had in his service roles.”
Keith Walker, Tazewell County

Joel Kooistra
“In his day-to-day work, Joel has always demonstrated a strong sense of appreciation and care for the animals that he works with every day, at all hours of the day.”
Brian Gerloff, veterinarian

“In the current world of ‘me first,’ Joel is quite the opposite and is a joy and privilege to converse and work with. There have been many times that Joel has said to me, ‘I just love what I do.’ ”
Rod Martin, dairy consultant, Vita Plus Corp.

“Thirty years later, I still regard Joel Kooistra as one of the most well-rounded, conscientious and hardworking people I know. And in those years, I’ve seen him take on the mentorship role for several other young men. His work ethic and approach to handling day-to-day issues that inevitably pop up on a dairy farm have undoubtedly had a positive effect on many people.”
Rob Plane, technician, Lionheart

“I have known Joel for three decades and have watched him grow as a dairyman, a conservationist, a spokesperson and advocate for his profession, an adaptor of new technology, a great family man and an all-around good guy with a delightful sense of humor.”
Orion Samuelson, farm broadcaster

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