When someone is nominated for the Indiana Prairie Farmer/Purdue University College of Agriculture Master Farmer award, people who know them typically write letters of support. You can learn a lot about an individual from what others say about him or her. Here are five people who shared thoughts about Dan Gwin.
1. Don Villwock, Villwock Farms, Edwardsport: “Dan represents all the qualities of a Master farmer. He first and foremost is a dedicated family man. He and his wife Donya [Lester] operate as a team, and each individually and jointly makes contributions to the management of their successful grain farm. As you know, in today’s world it is challenging and difficult to deal with the daily rigors of farm life, but Dan Gwin successfully navigates those challenges from a wheelchair. I mention this only as it increases my profound admiration for him and his dedication to excellence. I never look at him as a farmer in a wheelchair, but as one of the very best farmers and managers in the Midwest.”
2. Jim Luzar, Purdue Extension ag educator, Parke and Vigo counties: “Dan was an early adopter of precision technology and promoted the benefits of using precision agriculture from an input utilization perspective. Dan arranged for a program on precision agriculture to share with other producers. What impressed me about Dan [while I was an educator in Montgomery County] with that event was his willingness to assist other producers who could be perceived as ‘competition.’ Riding in Dan’s combine evaluating corn yields gave me further proof of Dan’s commitment to natural resource stewardship, as his soil fertility is finely managed.”
3. Fred Whitford, director, Purdue Pesticide Programs: “Dan is fully aware that being a farmer today is more than just producing a crop. It’s the business side of corn and soybean production that separates the average from the best. You will not find any person who knows Dan that does not put him in the ‘best’ category.”
4. Gary Standiford, SDS Farms, Lafayette: “Twenty-five years ago I realized I had the ability to help form an amazing, lifelong agriculture partnership by introducing Dan to Donya Lester. In their marriage they’ve done a great job in being and demonstrating a voice of agriculture throughout the state of Indiana. Both have amazing personalities, and people enjoy listening and learning about the farm through them.”
5. Renee Wiatt, Purdue Extension ag educator, Montgomery County: “People I’ve spoken with in Montgomery County all have very high regards for Dan. They think that he is a great farmer. They all speak of how great he is on working on his budget. I have also heard many times that he is great with maintaining his machinery. … He’s also done an amazing job with his grain drying system. It’s very innovative and cutting-edge.”