“Tom and Carol are one of the few farm families that go way above in helping others,” Gary Stuckey says. “They have both provided countless hours serving others, and [I] feel that they are highly qualified to be among the next new Indiana Master Farmers.”
Stuckey should know. He was the vocational-agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at North Daviess High School for many years, living near and working with the Nugents, Elnora, Ind. You will read similar comments from him about another local family, Rob and Karen Dove, also receiving the Master Farmer award this year. They also live near the high school and are very supportive of the vo-ag program.
Related: Nugents excel at managing their land
It’s fitting that both couples receive the award in the same year because these two farm families work together, sharing equipment and labor during key times of the year. Stuckey nominated both couples to be Master Farmers, but he’s not the only one who recognizes their accomplishments.
Jerry Lubbehusen describes himself as a friend and neighbor of Tom Nugent. “Tom is a pillar in the community. I have worked with him as a North Daviess Young Farmer, doing everything from kiddy tractor pulls at the local Daviess County Fair to lending a hand to someone at harvest or planting because of a death or illness,” Lubbehusen says.
“Tom was always as busy as any farmer in the area, but always found the time to help out those in need. … Tom has not just lived here, but has been very involved with his community, doing things that were needed and being engaged.”
Another neighbor, Doug Neidigh, adds, “Farming next to [Tom] all these years has shown me his strong work ethic and willingness to help others in the community. Whether sandbagging the local levee when flooding was happening to being a volunteer fireman, Tom has enjoyed helping others.”
Tom served on the local school board for 12 years. Jodi Berry, superintendent, appreciates his service, saying, “I found Mr. Nugent to exhibit great vision for our schools and always ensure the best decisions for our students’ education. He always went above and beyond in addressing the needs of the North Daviess Community Schools and our communities.”
Friend and neighbor Brad Roark says, “The Nugents are good stewards of the land, hard workers, and [they] support the community. Tom is very proactive at managing soil erosion through fescue waterways. No one, I mean no one, is more intentional on weed control than Tom Nugent. When summer comes, Tom picks up a hoe or backpack sprayer and walks corn and bean fields, hoeing or spraying weeds. Tom will stop the combine to pull a johnsongrass plant and put it in a plastic bag to prevent dropped seeds.”
Tim Hastings, another neighbor, offered the same observations about Tom’s commitment to wiping out weeds. He adds, “Tom is also active in the community, being a member of the local fire department and an active supporter of the local 4-H and FFA chapter. … Tom and his son [Thomas] stay abreast of the latest updates for farming.”
Here’s what Thomas Schaffer, retired as vice president of turkey operations for Perdue Farms at Washington, Ind., says. “[Tom] exemplifies all that is good about the American farmer, as he is devoted to his work, but makes time to serve his community in multiple ways.”