Ohio Farmer

Kent Sonnenberg and Jim Jepsen are honored with ag’s highest award.

Jennifer Kiel, Editor, Michigan Farmer

March 13, 2024

2 Min Read
Kent Sonnenberg (left) and Jim Jepsen (right)
2024 MASTER FARMERS: Kent Sonnenberg (left) of Holgate and Jim Jepsen of Amanda were honored with ag’s highest award March 12 at the Ohio Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada. Jennifer Kiel

If agriculture had an Academy Awards, two Ohio farmers would be in line to receive the equivalent of an Oscar for starring in outstanding farm management, innovation, conservation and leadership.

Every year, Ohio Farmer bestows the prestigious Master Farmer award on two people who have demonstrated how to farm more effectively, environmentally, efficiently and economically.

This year’s winners, who are very successful and operate and manage their farms with a high level of proficiency, include Jim Jepsen of Amanda and Kent Sonnenberg of Holgate.

The award acknowledges a lifetime of achievement and not a single year. Master Farmers are nominated by their peers and chosen by a committee of agriculture industry leaders.

Honorees are designated as 2024 winners because the award is based on a career in agriculture and, therefore, designated with the year it is presented.

The 2024 Master Farmers will be honored and awarded at a luncheon March 12 at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada.

Master Farmers receive a plaque from Ohio Farmer, and a special video tribute is sponsored and provided by Brownfield Ag News.

Read more about this year’s Ohio Master Farmers in feature articles appearing online March 14 and 15.

To nominate a Master Farmer for 2025, download the nomination form, or contact Jennifer Kiel at [email protected] or 989-224-1235.

Past Ohio Master Farmers

2023 — Tim Norris of Gambier and Duane Stateler of McComb.

2022 — Bret Margraf of McCutchenville and Jeff Duling of Ottawa

2021 — Matt Aultman of Greenville and Greg Waidelich of Amanda

2020 — Steve Reinhard of Bucyrus, and brothers Les and Jerry Seiler of Fayette.

2019 — Allen Dean of Bryan and John Motter of Jenera

2018 — Gary Shick of Kenton and Dale Profit of Van Wert

2017 — Alan Thompson of Springfield and Mark Guess of Jamestown

2016 — Dave Brandt of Carroll and Jan Layman of Kenton

2015 — Terry McClure of Grover Hill, Fred Yoder of Plain City and Keith Kemp of West Manchester

2014 — Marvin Thompson of Payne, Frank Phelps of Belle Center and Brent Porteus of Coshocton.

2013 — Nancy and Jim Patterson of Chesterland, Brenda and Jim VanTilburg of Celina, and Brenda Butler and Joe Celuch of Frazeysburg

2012 — William J. Richards of Circleville, the late Terry Lee Swaisgood of Polk and Brian H. Watkins of Kenton

Read more about:

Master Farmers

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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