JUNCTION CITY -- Six couples, including one from Bourbon County, have been named Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers for 2011 in recognition of their leadership in agriculture, environmental stewardship and service to their communities.
The Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker award program dates to 1927 and is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine. The couples will be honored at a banquet March 16 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Junction City.
The 2011 Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers are:
Larry and Debra Martin of Fort Scott cite their major contribution to agriculture as the 1994 reopening and reorganization of the Fort Scott Livestock Market Inc.
Hard work and dedication by the Martin family and the business employees have developed the business into the fourth largest livestock market in Kansas. In recent years, the Martins have created the option of video sales for their market customers.
In addition to the market, the Martins own cattle and are members of G&M Trucking LLC.
Community service and presenting the beef industry in a positive way are important to Larry and Debra. Larry has served as a member of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, Bourbon County Farm Bureau and the Fort Scott Community College Agriculture Committee. Debbie has been a member of the state and county cattlewomen associations. The couple is also a member of the Kansas Livestock Association and their family church.
The Martin family has traveled to many places in the country and have made trips to Italy, England, Scotland and Wales. Larry and Debra have two sons, Tyler and Kyle, and six grandchildren.
Other winners are:
David and Paula Blasi of Pratt have planted registered or foundation seed wheat from Kansas State University since they began farming in 1967.
David and Paula share their farm with 125 fourth-graders during the annual Kids Day on the Farm to help youth understand agriculture.
Carl and Jeanette Hildebrand, of Stafford, will also be recognized.
Carl Hildebrand's great-grandfather began farming in Stafford County in the late 1800s. Carl and Jeannette Hildebrand have carried on his legacy since 1974. They grow wheat, grain sorghums and alfalfa while also raising primarily Angus cattle. Carl's goal is to leave his soil, community, church and family in a better state at the end of his farming career than he found it.
To accomplish this goal, Carl has served several community groups, including on the Kanza Co-op Board, Stafford County Extension Executive Board, Stafford Township Board and as an active 4-H parent and community leader. Jeanette has been active in the community as a member and leader in the Stafford Pride Program, Lovely Branch Ministries Board and Stafford Elementary Site Council.
Galen and Nancy Hofmann, of Leonardville, are fourth-generation farmers. They grow rotational wheat, grain sorghums, soybean, alfalfa and grass hay on their no-till operation. They also raise cattle on their Riley County ranch.
To help conserve their land for the future, the Hofmanns have installed waterways and terraces. They also participate in the Conservation Reserve Program for cropland and Environmental Quality Incentives Program for pasture. The Hofmanns are one of the original participants in the Riley County Extension test plot program for milo.
Ross and Judy Kinsler, Kingman, Kan. Forward-thinking, third-generation Kingman County farmers, Ross and Judy Kinsler, have an eye to the future while honoring traditions of the past.
The family is a leader of the value-added movement and encourages others to explore the opportunities. The Kinslers are ground floor members of the 21st Century Grain Alliance, U.S. Premium Beef program and Golden Resources.
They also use conservation practices whenever possible because they say it is their responsibility to be good stewards of the land.
Carl and Patricia Ziegelmeier of Gem, Kan., are among the winners.
Establishing and expanding their operation to develop a legacy for the next generation has been a longtime goal for Carl and Patricia Ziegelmeier.
The couple started out working for their parents' farms in Thomas County and gradually accumulated land and cattle for their own operation. The Ziegelmeiers grow wheat and corn on some of their acreage.
Through their 50 years of marriage, Carl and Patricia, along with their children, have created a bond of commitment and cooperation to each other and their work.