Lonnie Mason graduated from Purdue University in 1969 and began working in Extension in Southeast Indiana. He has served in Switzerland, Ohio and Jefferson County, serving most of his career in Jefferson County.
He is the longest tenured active Extension educator in Indiana. The Jefferson County Commissioners named a new fairgrounds building the Lonnie Mason Agricultural Building in 2014. Getting a building named after you while you are still alive is quite a feat!\
Recently, Indiana Farm Bureau bestowed another honor. He was recognized as co-recipient of the Hovde Award sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau at their annual convention recently in French Lick.
He shares the award with Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross, health and human services educator in Elkhart County. She has served 38 years as an Extension educator and created and implemented thousands of educational programs on a wide range of topics. She is also serving as the county Extension director in Elkhart County. She was heavily involved in developing "Where Does Your Money Go?" a financial program now taught in 28 states, and also was instrumental in starting the Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference, held in Indiana each winter.
Michael Schutz, assistant Extension director, credits Mason with beginning in a different era, when tobacco was king in his area, and helping farmers transition into the modern age of agriculture where alternative production to tobacco has helped many survive. He's become a fixture in his community. Since he also helps with 4-H, many of the people he worked with as 4-H youth now serve alongside him on boards and groups in the community.
Mason is a key member of the Purdue Farm Succession Planning team which devises programming to help one generation of farmers prepare to pass the operation along to the next.
You will find Lonnie in the hog barn at the Indiana State Fair each August. He has volunteered to help with the 4-H program both in Jefferson County and at the Indiana State Fair in the swine barn for more years than almost anyone, except possibly Lonnie, can remember.