Snow may be flying outside, or at least headed your way, and summer may seem light years away, but before you know it chills running up and down your back from turning down the thermostat extra low this winter will turn into beads of sweat as you keep rooms cooler next summer, all courtesy of escalating fuel costs.
All this goes to say that nomination time for Master Farmers for our '06 awards program is much closer than you think. Master Farmer nominations are due (postmarked) to Indiana Prairie Farmer by April 15, '06.
The '05 awards program marked the first time Purdue University officially joined Indiana Prairie Farmer as co-sponsor of the award. Indications are that Purdue will continue as co-sponsor of the awards program again this year. Hats off to College of Agriculture Dean Randy Woodson for making that happen.
Four outstanding Hoosier farmers and their families will be honored in August '06. Maybe one of them lives and farms near you! Unless you let us know, we may never know, and a deserving individual and family will go unnoticed for what they do.
That's where you enter the process. Most Master Farmers are nominated by someone close to them, such as a parent, son or daughter, spouse or someone they work closely with, such as a county extension ag educator, a soil and water conservation district conservationist, industry consultant or neighbor. If you know someone who you feel is deserving of consideration, please request a nomination form from us today.
Who is a Master Farmer? The definition used in this grand program, dating to the mid-20s with the modern version picking up again in '68, is someone who exhibits outstanding farming skills, provides excellent leadership to his community and agriculture at local, state or national levels, and shows devotion to family, God and country.
For the past two seasons, we've also recognized an Honorary Master Farmer- Howard Doster in '04 and Jim Newman in '05. Nominations are not required for an honorary master farmer, and we're not bound to honor one each year. However, if you know someone who fits this category, namely someone who doesn't farm, but who delivered service to agriculture throughout his or her career, we would live to hear who that person is, and why you think they deserve recognition.
The Master Farmer nomination form is one page, front and back, and may require you to work with someone inside the farming operation to provide specific details. Telling the person you're nominating about the nomination is optional. You will also need to ask up to six neighbors or others who work with the person you're nominating to write letters of recommendation. Nominators of successful honorees will be invited to the Master Farmer awards ceremony next August.
For information and an entry form, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (317) 738-0565. Here's hoping you nominate one of Indiana's next 'Master Farmers.'