When the phone rings, even the cell phone, the news is not always good. That happened twice in the last few days. We're glad people keep us updated on the news, but we're sad when the news is about someone important to agriculture passing on.
Craig Sherbahn, South Whitley, passed away on January 28 at his home. Sherbahn, 61, was well-known in the livestock industry. He was on a Purdue University championship livestock judging team in college, and judged numerous county and higher level livestock shows, especially beef cattle shows.
Sherbahn was a past Indiana State Fair Director who worked with the 4-H beef cattle program. He also was heavily involved in the Indiana Beef Congress each year, sponsored by the Indiana Cattlemen's Association.
His father was Ken Sherbahn, the well-known auctioneer and former state fair director who passed away a few years ago. Sherbahn leaves behind a wife and daughter.
The phone ran a second time a day later and it was Tom Roney, a Master Farmer himself, from Hancock County. He also had sad news. His neighbor, Kenny Phares, who farmed his entire life as long as he was able, passed away. Phares was in his late 80's, Roney reports.
Phares was recognized in the Master Farmer class of 1996. Paul Brocksmith, also recognized that year, a vet from Vincennes, passed away several years ago. Donald Gurtner and James Smoker, other 1996 Master Farmers, are still living as far as we know.
The list of Master Farmers who have passed away continues to grow. About one fourth of all master Farmers named since the program was restarted in 1968 have passed away. However, many of them are from the earlier classes. Is the glass half full or half empty? Since many were at the height of their career when they were named, and it is some 46 years later, perhaps it's remarkable so many are still alive.
Nevertheless, Indiana agriculture will miss both Craig Sherbahn and Kenny Phares.
Indiana Prairie Farmer wishes to extend sympathy to their families.