This morning, we're gathering in Bloomington for our annual awards luncheon to celebrate this year's newly-named Master Farmers. It wraps up one of my most favorite programs of the year; the Master Farmers have been judged, chosen, interviewed, photographed and written about. They are, as always, a joy to work with and to get to know and to learn from. I say it every year but it's so true: I pick up things from these farmers and their families that we take back and use in our farm and in our family. It may just be an off-handed quote or a situation they mention, without realizing the profound truth of what they say. Or maybe they do. Maybe that's why they are Master Farmers.
Earlier this year, when Erin Ehnle began producing her beautiful farm images, she published this one and there's nothing else that says Master Farmer to me like this. This is why church committees and school boards and commodity groups are thriving. And this is why rural communities are the tremendous places they are. Farmers show up and they get it done.
So today, congratulations to Scott Bidner (Champaign), Tim Lenz (Strasburg), Tim Seifert (Auburn) and Mel Von Bergen (Hebron). You all are good people. And your families and your communities are better because you're a part of them.