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Monday  May 27, 2019  09:08 AM

Agriculture Headlines


Prairie Farmer 2019 Master Farmers

Tue, 05 Mar 2019 09:40:38 CST
Four Illinois producers will be honored as 2019 Master Farmers at Prairie Farmer magazine’s annual event in Springfield, Ill., on Wednesday, March 13. The award recognizes exceptional agricultural production skills, commitment to family and service to community.

Award recipients are Martin Marr, Jacksonville; Jim Robbins, Peotone; Bill Sahs, Lincoln; and Boyd Schaufelberger, Greenville. Look for profiles of each winner in the March 2019 Prairie Farmer and online at

Prairie Farmer first offered the award in 1925. Editors have continued the tradition annually since 1968, following a pause initially caused by the Depression. When Editor Clifford Gregory established the Master Farmer program, he felt the award would help give farm people a greater sense of “pride and permanence.” Nearly 350 Illinois producers have been inducted as Master Farmers or Honorary Master Farmers over the program’s history.

“The Master Farmer award is Illinois agriculture’s lifetime achievement award,” said Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor. “It’s based on a body of work in the field, in the family, and in the community.”

Candidates are nominated by farmers, neighbors, agribusiness leaders and farm organizations throughout the state. Judges for the awards were Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics; Robert Easter, President Emeritus, University of Illinois; Linnea Kooistra, 2011 Master Farmer; Steve Myers, Busey Ag Services; Dwight Raab, Illinois FBFM; and Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor.

“Every year, we pour through pages and pages of applications that document a lifetime of work. We sift until we find the very best Illinois farmers – the people who raise good crops and even better families, and who build their communities all along the way,” said Spangler. “Master Farmers leverage every ounce of skill they possess for the greater good.”

Some Master Farmers serve in state and national farm leadership positions. Others chair prestigious boards or serve with honor at the highest levels of government. Still others build their farms or businesses to regional or national prominence.

However, all serve their communities – building churches, chairing little-known but important committees, organizing harvest for a stricken neighbor – and continuing the service-minded commitment that earned them the Master Farmer distinction in the first place.

Prairie Farmer is published 12 times a year for Illinois farm families. Established in 1841, it is the oldest continuously published farm periodical in the United States. GROWMARK, Inc., is a financial sponsor of the award. Like the Master Farmer award, the GROWMARK system was born during the 1920s, when farmer cooperatives first organized the Illinois Farm Supply Co. Today, the brand is known as FS.

To nominate a farmer for the 2020 Master Farmer award, email or go to


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