Tax day is slowly creeping up. But everything about April 15 is not bad. It's also the day when Master Farmer applications must be postmarked. The Master Farmer awards program helps Hoosiers celebrate our ag heritage by recognizing four outstanding farmers and their families each year.
If you don't have an application form, now is the time to request one. Send your request to Indiana Prairie Farmer, P.O. Box 247, Franklin, IN 46137. You will receive a one-page application form plus instructions on how to simplify the application process. Or you can call for one at 317-738-0565. Finally, you can request a form by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or you can download it online by visiting Master Farmer
You will likely need the help of a member close to the candidate's operation so you can obtain recent records about crop and livestock performance. All applications are kept confidential. Some nominators opt to ask the individual first. Others prefer to surprise them, working with a family member instead to gather the required information.
A big part of the process is obtaining up to six letters of recommendation form people who mow the potential Master Farmer well. These people can be bankers, other farmers, relatives, machinery dealers, feed dealers, grain buyers, ag farm organization staff, Purdue Extension personnel, pastors and anyone else who has worked with the person in the past.
You will find that most people will feel like you do about your nominee, and will be glad to write a brief letter stating why they think this person would be a good candidate to receive the award.
The actual award will be presented in ceremonies at the Beck Ag Center near West Lafayette, in very late August. Recipients must be able to attend the awards ceremony to claim their award. As nominator, you and your guest will receive complimentary tickets to attend the event and support the person who successfully nominated for the award.
The Master Farmer program dates back to 1935. It was discontinued for decades, then revised in 1968. Recently, four actual farmers and occasionally a friend of agriculture who doesn't farm have been recognized each year.
The award is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Thanks to new dean Jay Akridge for his support of the program.