Indiana Master Farmers have been selected and the notification process is underway. However, it's not too late to begin thinking about next year. Master Farmer applications for the next round will be due Feb.15, 2014.
The program was restarted in 1968 after more than a 30 year hiatus that began during the Great Depression. Early banquets in the 1920s and early 1930s were often held at Purdue. When the program was restarted, awards programs were typically held in hotels, often around the Indianapolis area.
Then in 1999, the event was held in the antique tractor tent behind the main building of Pioneer Village during the Indiana State Fair. For several years following, it was held across the street at the Normandy Barn, technically off the fairgrounds, in the spacious, restored hayloft. When the Normandy Barn was moved onto the fairgrounds, it was time for the Master Farmer event to move again. By this time the Purdue University College of Agriculture had joined Indiana Prairie Farmer as co-sponsor.
For the next three years the ceremony was held at the Beck's Ag Center on the Agronomy Research Farm near West Lafayette. Seeking to tie-in another event, Donya Lester, Purdue Ag Alumni Association, suggested rolling it into the Indiana Farm Management tour. It became the evening program for the farm management tour in 2011 at Vincennes, and in 2012 at Plymouth in Marshall County.
For the first time ever, this year the banquet is tentatively set to be held on a working farm. It will be held at the Hal and Ty Brown farm following their tour visit on Wednesday evening, June 26. The browns are completing a new toolshed and office area to serve both their farm and Drago cornhead business. The spacious facility is air conditioned.
Watch for details about the tour and how to sign up to attend the Master Farmer banquet coming soon.