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Faces and Places: Master Farmer awards

Slideshow: Friends, family, neighbors and colleagues traveled from all over Illinois to honor the 2023 Class of Prairie Farmer Master Farmers. Here are all the folks caught on camera.

26 Slides

The Illinois agriculture community came together last week for an awards luncheon in Bloomington, Ill., to honor the 2023 Prairie Farmer Master Farmers. The 2023 class includes Martin Barbre, Carmi; David Meiss, Gridley; Ron Moore, Roseville; Curt Strode, Marietta; and Honorary Master Farmer Bob Easter.

RFD Radio Network’s Rita Frazer delivered the keynote address for the day, reminding the crowd that “the best people work in agriculture.”

Many past Master Farmers come back to welcome the new class, and were recognized with an ovation. Growmark serves as a financial sponsor of the award, and also helped make possible the videos that were shared of each Master Farmer.

For full coverage of the 2023 Master Farmer awards, check out this story. To nominate a farmer for the 2024 Class of Master Farmers, email [email protected] for a nomination form or download one online.

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Master Farmers

About the Author(s)

Betty Haynes

Betty Haynes and her husband, Dan, raise corn, soybeans and cattle with her family near Oakford, Ill., and are parents to Clare. Haynes grew up on a Menard County, Ill., farm and graduated from the University of Missouri. Most recently, she was associate editor of Prairie Farmer. Before that, she worked for the Illinois Beef Association, entirely managing and editing its publication.

Haynes won the Emerging Photographer Award from the Ag Communicators Network during the 2022 Ag Media Summit. At the 2023 AMS, she was named a Master Writer and winner of the Andy Markwart Horizon Award.

Holly Spangler

Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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