Now we can reveal who the 2014 Master Farmers are! The awardees were recognized at an awards banquet which doubled as the evening program for the Indiana Farm Management tour on Monday evening. The event was held at the Spencer County Fairgrounds near Chrisney.
The Indiana Farm Management tour is in Spencer and Dubois Counties this year. It concludes with stops today and a noon luncheon featuring Larry and Scott Vollmer talking about turkey production, plus Chris Hurt delivering an economic outlook.
The Master Famer program is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. This is the fourth year that the banquet has been held in conjunction with the Indiana Farm Management tour.
The awardees this year include: Jack and Rita Maloney, Brownsburg; David and Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer; Carl and Delene Schmitz, Wadesville and Mike and Karen Starkey, also of Brownsburg.
It's the first time in recent memory that two farmers, Maloney and Starkey, have been recognized from the same county in the same year. The two are neighbors, living about three miles apart, and follow similar farming practices. Each wrote a letter of support for the award for the other, while neither knew they were nominated for the award!
Related: It's Master Farmer Season
Another unusual event occurred this year. Jack Rodibaugh, David's father, was named a Master Farmer in 1974. Danita's dad, the late Thomas Howell, Greentown, was named a Master Farmer in 1979. Now both join their parents as Master Farmers. Jack Maloney's dad, the late John Maloney, was named a Master Farmer in 1978.
Also this year Bill Field received the Honorary Master Farmer award. It is given at the discretion of the judges to an individual who doesn't farm, but who has made great contributions to Indiana agriculture. Field is the Extension farm safety specialist at Purdue University.
Last year, Fred Whitford, the Purdue University Extension Pesticide Coordinator, was honored with the Honorary Master Farmer award.
Read more about the winners this week here on the Website.