Not every thing that happens on April 15 is bad. Yes, your income taxes are due to the government, and must be postmarked by midnight to avoid penalty in most cases. But you can put something positive into the mailbox by midnight on April 15, 2009, that could help bring recognition to someone you admire and look up to.
That's the Master Farmer award nomination form. Hopefully you've already selected someone to nominate, filled out a form and collected letters of support. Maybe you've just forgot about mailing it. Now is the time- April 15 is the postmark deadline for entries for Master Farmer nominations for this year.
Or maybe someone has asked you to write a letter of support for someone they're nominating, and you put it off. Today is the day the letter needs to get to the person who requested it. That's so they can turn around and send it here, to: Indiana Prairie Farmer, P.O. Box 347, Franklin, IN 46131.
The original Master Farmer program began in 1925. It was sponsored by Prairie Farmer to honor farmers in Illinois and soon thereafter in Indiana as well. The original banquet honoring Indiana Master Farmers was held at Purdue University.
Some things go full circle. Last year the banquet returned to Purdue University, only to the newly opened Beck Ag center at the Purdue Agronomic Research Center. This year's program will be held there, also, this time on July 30. The Master Farmers will be honored with special coverage in the August issue of the magazine.
Purdue University assumed a bigger role in helping see that the event continues a few years ago. Then Dean of Agriculture Randy Woodson agreed to sponsor a good portion of the award banquet. That helped keep the cost down to former winners who return each year to help honor the new class of Master Farmers. It also helps provide meals to the new winners, and to the folks that nominated them.
You probably know of at least one Maser Farmer in your area. The list of Master Farmers named in Indiana since 1968, when the modern era of the program began, is pushing 200. But there are many, many more folks out there who deserve to be recognized with the award.
Remember, nominations must come from peers, other farmers, relatives or businesses. Writers and editors aren't allowed t make nominations. So that leaves it up to you to nominate who is most deserving in your eyes.
Thanks to all of you who have already submitted an entry. If not the clock is ticking, but it's not yet to midnight. Now you have a reason to go to the post office tonight that makes sense - something besides the evil task of mailing tax returns.