It’s once again the time of year when Prairie Farmer editors seek nominations for the prestigious Master Farmer award. From now until Aug. 26, you can nominate yourself or another Illinois farmer for the 2023 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer award.
While you wrap up the planting season, take a moment to think about potential farmers who deserve recognition for their dedication to agriculture in the field and beyond. The nominee may be a sibling, neighbor, friend, your parents or even yourself.
Yes, farmers can nominate themselves; many farmers submit their own names each year. Feel free to nominate or apply as an individual, a farm couple or siblings. Nominations for couples and sibling partnerships are not uncommon. In 2016, four couples received the award. Siblings Doug and Tom Block, who farm in partnership, were named Master Farmers in 2009, joining a list of names that’s grown past 350.
The 2023 application form is available online. Download it, fill it out and send it in, complete with letters of support, by Aug. 26. For more information or to have an application sent to you, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need at least eight recommendation letters to support your nomination, and the selection committee focuses on growth of the operation over time, agriculture productivity and community involvement.
The selection committee will be comprised of Illinois agricultural leaders, including experts in agronomy and agricultural finance, past Master Farmers, agricultural research or university authorities, and Prairie Farmer editorial staff.
What’s it take to be a Master Farmer? Here’s a look:
- Candidates must farm in Illinois, deriving the majority of their income from agricultural production.
- Successful nominees will have proven ag production records, be recognized as leaders in their community, and will have given back to the community in substantive ways.
- Candidates may be individuals, couples or siblings; judging is equally weighted.
- Each nominee should be actively engaged in full-time production agriculture.
The Master Farmer award was founded in 1925 to recognize farmers for their achievements within production agriculture and within their communities. Today, with sponsorship help from Growmark, Prairie Farmer continues to honor the work and values of Master Farmers, both on and off the farm.