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Serving: IN

Indiana Prairie Farmer Family loses two well-known Master Farmers

Indiana Prairie Farmer Family loses two well-known Master Farmers
Both Wayne Townsend and Tom Bauman left their mark on Indiana agriculture.

Reporting the passing of good friends and honorable people is never fun. But you can take heart in the fact that Wayne Townsend and Tom Bauman led successful, rich lives and both left a legacy behind.

The legacies are very different. Townsend, who passed away recently after months of failing health, was a farmer, a politician and a supporter of Purdue University. He made a bid for governor of Indiana in the 1980s, running as a Democratic candidate.

Moreover, he was a successful farmer who along with his son, Mark, established a successful grain and hog operation in Blackford County.

Dedicated public servant: Tom Bauman, who passed away recently, helped farmers transition into the glyphosate era in his work as an Extension specialist.

On a personal note, I appreciated Wayne for his candid comments. He wrote me several letters, and I always knew before I ever opened it that it would be candid, to the point, but well-thought out. We didn't always agree on our opinions, but he was respectful, of me and of opposing viewpoints. To me that means he was a leader, not just a politician.

Townsend was named a Master Farmer in 1989. His son, Mark, followed in his footsteps in 2006.

On Saturday, July 11, Tom Bauman passed away. Although he was 76, he retired from Purdue University as a weed control Extension specialist just four years ago. He was named an Honorary Master Farmer in 2010.

Bauman graduated from Purdue and tested hundreds of herbicides in large on-farm trials at the Agronomy Research farm for decades. He was in charge of testing when companies were first coming up with new ingredients, then combining existing chemistry

Related: Tom Bauman Earned Title of Honorary Master Farmer

Again on a personal note, Bauman, other weed specialists and I always met around Christmas to discuss what was new for the next year in herbicides. While in later years there was precious little new, we still met. Highlight of the morning, for me, at least, was delivering a plate of Christmas cookies, made by my wife Carla, to Bauman and his co-workers. I always shared one or two with them, just for good measure!

Our thoughts and prayers are with both families.

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