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Serving: IA

Iowa Master Farmers are an honorable group

Jennifer Carrico The 2022 class of five Iowa Master Farmers holding plaques
MASTER FARMERS: The 2022 class of Iowa Master Farmers are now also members of the Iowa Master Farmer Association, which many consider a high honor. Shown here are John Heisdorffer (left), Keota; Mark Mueller, Waverly; Paul Kassel, Spencer; Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney; and Keith Sexton, Rockwell City.
What does it take to become a part of this elite group of farmers?

Good farming, clear thinking, right living.

This has been the focus of the Iowa Master Farmer Award and the subsequent Iowa Master Farmer Association since the inception of the award in 1926. It is the longest-running farmer recognition program in the United States.

It all started with a vision by Henry A. Wallace, who was editor of Wallaces Farmer at that time. He wanted to call attention to and recognize those Iowa farmers who had truly done an outstanding job of managing their farming operations, and who had provided superb leadership to agriculture and to organizations, both private and public, at the local, state and federal levels. 

The Iowa Master Farmer Award continues today with this focus. The association in the award program looks statewide for farmers who do many positive things: to set goals; support the environment; strive for soil health; enhance water quality; use innovation; increase yields with proportionately less inputs; combat pest resistance; improve their operation; keep solid records; participate in commodity organizations; and provide leadership to civic, service, church organizations, etc. Master Farmers focus on providing a sound example in their communities of what should be done and accomplished to earn a solid reputation of leadership, community support, and sound and sustainable agriculture.

Farm family

Family is important to Master Farmers. Iowa Master Farmers are devoted to agriculture. They work to make a positive difference to the next generation of farmers whether that be within their own family or to farmers in general to be a success and have a higher level of profitability. They have a tenacity to make life better across their community and across Iowa in all they do. They focus on giving back to their community in many ways.

The Iowa Master Farmer Association really is a family unto itself. The organization meets twice annually to conduct association business, recognize and congratulate new awardees on positive achievements and provide a reunion of past master farmer recipients. Membership as an Iowa Master Farmer is a lifetime honor. 

The Iowa Master Farmer Award is a partnership of family working together as a team to the greater benefit of all. I truly consider it an honor to have been granted this prestigious award, and now to serve as president of the association. Iowa Master Farmers possess the knowledge, experience, expertise and values that truly reflect “Good farming, clear thinking, right living.”

Buss is the president of the Iowa Master Farmers Association.

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