Among the things you're likely thankful for this Christmas season are good friends and neighbors- people who respect and admire for the business they operate on the farm, and for just being the type of people that they are. Now that your grain is finally stored away and you've got a minute or tow to breath, why not consider nominating one of those people you look up to as a Master Farmer for 2010.
The application process is now open. The award is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Applications must be postmarked by April 15, 2010. While that seems like a long ways off, it's less than 20 weeks, and will roll around rapidly.
Who should you nominate? Any farmer who does an outstanding job not only of farming, but of showing love for his family and community would make an excellent candidate. There are still hundreds of deserving Hoosier farmers who have not received the award. Some 200 have been recognized during the modern phase of the program, dating back to 1968.
Who can nominate someone? Anybody except a Farm Progress employee can do so. That means the nomination must come form a neighbor, friend, business acquaintance, Extension or soil conservation employee, or just someone who feels a particular person and his or her family needs to be recognized.
You can visit the Master Farmer section at: www.indianaprairiefarmer.com or you can obtain a Master Farmer application form by calling 317-738-0565, or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. The form itself is only one page. However, in writing about your nominee, you will likely want to add pages to discuss their farming operations. Important questions include what innovations they have made in farming practices through the years, what production goals they've obtained, how they take care of their natural resources on their farm, how they started farming and how they brought in the next generation, if it applies, plus a description of their leadership activities, both in farm and non-farm related organizations. For some, these will be local activities, and that's totally acceptable. Others may be active at state or even national levels, and those are also noteworthy activities.
An important part of preparing a nomination is asking six other people to write simple letters endorsing the person you are nominating. Your letter of support may be one of the six. Perhaps there is an ag dealer, a neighbor or even a pastor who would like to tell why they believe this person should be honored.
Successful nominees will be recognized in the August issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. They will also be officially designated as master farmers at an awards luncheon on July 27, 2010, at the Beck Ag Center at the Agronomy Research Center near West Lafayette.
Don't let more snow fly before you pick a candidate and start work on your nomination. Successful nominators will also be invited to share in the festivities on July 27. We hope to see you there!