When Keith Berry, Greencastle, submitted an application, he knew he was breaking tradition. But he felt strongly that all three Ames brothers, who farm as part of Ames 4K Farms near Fillmore, deserved recognition as Master Farmers. The fourth 'K', Kenny, their father, was named a Master Farmer in 2002. Berry was named a Master Farmer in 2010.
The judges agreed with Berry's line of thinking. Each received the award on his own merit at ceremonies this week, held in conjunction with the Indiana Farm Management Tour. All these events were held in Marshall County.
Kerry, Kim and Kent farm together, but each has a different role in the business, and each carries out different activities in the community outside of the farm. Their farming operation features no-till, since most of their land is rolling and erosive. They also use two 12-row planters. Other operations their size opt for one 24-row planter.
"This works better for us for several reasons," Kerry, the oldest, says. "We have many small, rolling fields where a 24-row planter wouldn't be convenient. Plus, we have the labor supply to operate and keep two planters going. So for us, it becomes more efficient to run two smaller planters than one very large one. "
The Ames family redid their grain system in the past year. It was the first major update in 35 years, Kim notes, and it allows them to unload grain much faster. "We figured that redoing our system with a major overhaul once in 35 years was doing pretty good," Kerry says. He is a former merchandiser for Consolidated Grain & Barge, leaving the company to join Kerry, his dad, and Kent, the youngest brother, on the farm in 1987.
Kent makes perhaps the most unique contribution to his community off the farm. He and his wife are heavily involved in sustaining a local clothing pantry for those who need help. They operate the pantry out of the basement of their home.
Congratulations again to Kerry, Kim and Kent Ames.