One of the most interesting facets of learning about Master Farmers each year is seeing what others say about them. Here are highlights from five people who supported the nomination of Tom and Karen McKinney.
1. Kevin Emsweller, superintendent, Tipton Community School Corp.: “During my brief five years in Tipton, I have come to know of the great contributions the McKinneys have made to this community. … I am not a farmer, so I can’t speak to the specifics of their farming operations. But during my short time in Tipton, I do know and I am very comfortable in supporting their nomination for the award. Both Tom and Karen, with their ongoing community involvement, have a great way of bridging the past with the future of Tipton County.”
2. Mark Raver, senior vice president, First Farmers Bank & Trust: “From a banker’s standpoint, I know it is important to have a lending relationship with someone who will worry more about his loan repayment ability than his banker. Tom’s values, morals and ethics are from an era where a man’s handshake was his bond and as good as any note or agreement that could be signed.”
3. Gary Eberhart, pastor, Kemp United Methodist Church: “For all of the work that Tom and Karen McKinney do for our church and community, it is the way they have managed their life and their family that is such an inspiration. They are two of the most genuine people I have ever met. Tom and Karen McKinney make me very proud to have been an Indiana farm boy and to be their pastor.”
4. Bill Prince, personal marketing manager, Cargill Ag Marketing Service: “Tom is a great listener and eager to know his employees on a business and personal level. [He finds] their strengths and the aspects of the business they are passionate about and [gives] them freedom ‘to run with it.’ Even though he has little control over what Mother Nature will give, his enthusiasm and motivation come from knowing he is playing a part in feeding the world.”
5. Shelly Bingle, executive director, Indiana 4-H Foundation: “Tom and Karen are both involved in numerous community activities and have long been supporters of 4-H both in Tipton County and across the state. … [Tom’s] contributions to our board have been significant, and 4-H youth all around the state will reap the benefits of his hard work for generations to come.”