The 2013 Master Farmer banquet achieved history. It was the first Master Farmer banquet held on a working farm, hosted by Hal and Ty Brown and family near Mulberry. The spacious, spotless shop, storage building and side business office for the Drago Corn Heads made for a great setting. More than 225 people attended. The Browns also hosted the second stop on the Indiana Farm Management Tour earlier in the day.
The new Master Farmers, announced at the banquet, are: Kevin Cox, Brazil; David Ring, Huntingburg; Ken and Jane Rulon, Arcadia; Del and Tammi Unger, Carlisle; and honorary master farmer Fred Whitford, West Lafayette.
After the ceremonies the master farmers formed a panel to share advice with the audience, based on their experiences. Jim Mintert, associate Extension director at Purdue University, posed the questions, with some help from the audience. The Purdue University College of Agriculture is co-sponsor of the event.
During the panel discussion, someone asked, "What advice would you give to young people interested in agriculture and who want to farm some day?"Kevin Cox got right to the point.
"It takes a tremendous passion to be a farmer," he says. "If you love agriculture, then you can make it work. If you don't have the fire burning for it, then you ought to find another career.
"We work hard, and I've worked hard, maybe to the point of not spending enough time with family, during the early years to get our operation to where it is now. You start early and work late.
"You also do the very best you can and then leave your investment and hard work up to things like the weather, which you have no control over. Last year we received 0.3 inches of rain the entire growing season. This summer some near me have received 10 inches in the last 11 days. You can't plan in advance for that.
"If you can't handle that and don't have the passion for agriculture, then do something else. But if you have a real passion, there are ways to make it work," he adds.