The Missouri Master Farmer Award Program is proud to announce its 2011-2012 class of winners. The Missouri Master Farmers are Phil Howerton of Chilhowee, Joe Shryock of Columbia, and Dan and Brenda Weigand of Warrensburg.
Coordinators of the award program are Missouri Ruralist magazine and University of Missouri Extension.
The Master Farmer Award recognizes farmers who work hard every day for better, more efficient methods of raising crops and livestock. Nominations are open to all Missourians involved in production agriculture. The award program seeks the best managers with innovative ideas, business skills, financial recordkeeping, soil and water conservation practices, agricultural leadership, and community service.
"This program recognizes active farmers who have not only been successful in farming, but who are also assets to their communities and who can help guide young farmers," says Ron Plain, MU Extension agricultural economist.
All three Master Farmers live and work on family farms. Howerton is a managing partner in the J.D. Howerton & Son's farrow-to-finish swine operation and has been an active leader in the Missouri Pork Association. Shryock is an owner and managing partner with his family in grain crop, irrigation, biosolids and agritourism businesses. He has had leadership roles on the East Central Ag Products and the Callaway County Soil & Water Conservation District boards, and has been recognized for his environmental stewardship efforts by the Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Weigands share management duties at Weigand Grain & Livestock. The couple's diversified farm features grain crops, beef cattle, a custom mix feed store, and trucking business. They have been active members and leaders in the Missouri Angus Association.
The new Master Farmers will gather with young farmers at the Ag Decision Makers Forum, an educational roundtable planned for Saturday morning, Dec. 10, at the 2011 National Young Farmer Educational Association Institute in Kansas City. Ron Plain will facilitate the roundtable. An awards banquet for the Missouri Master Farmer awardees will be held Saturday evening, Dec. 10. The Missouri Young Farmers/Young Farm Wives Association is host of these events at the Holiday Inn Southeast in Kansas City.
The Master Farmer Award is the nation's longest running agriculture award program. States with established award programs include Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Read profiles on the Missouri Master Farmers and more information on the NYFEA Institute in Kansas City in the November issue of Missouri Ruralist.