You may have the planter in the shop, getting it ready to roll. Or maybe it's already in top shape, and you're just waiting for the right weather and for a couple more weeks or so to roll by. Whatever the case, there's one more thing you should do before you head to the field and become immersed in spring field work. To officially welcome in spring, why not nominate a Master Farmer for the prestigious Master Farmer award that will be presented later this year? There's still time, but the clock is ticking. Nominations must be postmarked by April 15 to be eligible for consideration this year.
The award began in 1925, then was suspended during the Depression years. But it was restarted in Indiana in 1968, and has been presented every year since then. Today the award is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University School of Agriculture. For the firs time since the program of the earlier era, the award ceremonies will be held at Purdue. Only technically the ceremony won't occur on campus. Instead, this year's class of Master Farmers will be welcomed into the fold on July 30 at the new Beck Ag Center near West Lafayette.
The number of Master Farmers named since the new program began is quickly approaching 200. Many return each year to help welcome the new class of Master Farmers. During recent years four new Master Farmers have been added annually. An honorary Master Farmer has been named during the past several years as well. They are not nominated, but instead are selected by Indiana Prairie Farmer staff. Honorary winners include Extension and business professionals who have helped advance the cause of agriculture above and beyond what was expected of them, but who are not actually production farmers.
Master Farmers are selected from the pool of applicants by a panel of judges, usually consisting of Purdue Dean of Agriculture Randy Woodson, Bill Pickart, a former Master Farmer; and Carl Eiche, retired senior editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. Current staff of Indiana Prairie Farmer are not actual judges for the award.
Magazine staff can't nominate individuals for the award either. That's where you come in. If you believe firmly that a neighbor, friend or relative deserves the award, call for a nomination forma t 317-738-0565. Or email for one at email@example.com.
Successful nominations usually include up to six letters of support from neighbors, business associates and Extension or farm group leaders who have first-hand knowledge of the candidate's farming and leadership abilities.
Someone out there is just waiting to be nominated! Why don't you be the one who nominates him or her?