Who is it in your community you look up to? Has that person already received the Master Farmer award? If not, he or she is waiting for someone to nominate them for this honor. Who better than you?
You can find the nomination form right here on the Website. Go to Indiana Prairie Farmer, go to 'More Indiana Prairie Farmer' and click on Master Farmer. It's a one-page form, although you will likely want to add extra explanations to some of the questions about the person's farming program.
Do it as a surprise, or ask the person first—we don't care. Nominate yourself if you feel you're deserving. Many successful nominators work with the nominee's family to obtain information about the farm, the farm's performance, and how important tasks, such as planting, are done on the farm.
The award is for a farmer in any tillage system, although those who at least recognize they need to care for their resources and land and protect water quality usually score higher. Many times, the nominee works with the local soil and water conservation district. Often, they currently are or have been a supervisor on the local board.
Leadership activities count for a portion of the award. How much emphasis the judges put on farm efficiency, citizenship and community service is up to the judges. A nominee's leadership may be limited to only community involvement, such as on Extension boards, SWCD boards, with the local volunteer Fire Department or a county co-op board, or he may also serve at the state or national level. Alan Kemper, a past Master Farmer, Lafayette, served as National Corn Growers president and now is president of the National Soybean Growers Association.
The biggest help you will need is from up to six individuals who can write a letter of support for your candidate. Look for a variety of people, from the local fertilizer dealer to the state executive director of a commodity group, if the person works at the state level in the organization, and even to the person's pastor. Send no more than six letters. Most successful nominations are submitted with six quality letters.
Dean Jay Akridge at Purdue University's College of Agriculture will be one of the judges, along with Carl Eiche, retired from Indiana Prairie Farmer, and Bill Pickart, Camden, a former winner. Eiche managed this program from 1968 until his retirement in 1994. The Purdue Colelge of Agriculture co-sponsors the Master Farmer program.
So circle Feb. 15 on your calendar. See if you can't bring recognition to a deserving farmer and his family in your area.