Six couples have been named 2015 Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers in recognition of their leadership in agriculture, environmental stewardship and service to their communities. They will be honored at a banquet on Friday, March 11, at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan.
The award program dates to 1927 and is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.
The honorees for 2015 are:
Kevin and Barbara Alpers, Hudson, Stafford County; Dwight and Cindy Baldwin, McPherson, McPherson County; Ronald and Patricia Fredrickson, Osage City, Osage County; Ki and Kim Gamble, Greensburg, Kiowa County; Craig and Tamara Gigstad, Valley Falls, Jefferson County; and Don and Lois Martin, Clay Center, Clay County.
Since Kansas Farmer publisher Arthur Capper started the Kansas Master Farmer program, followed by the Master Farm Homemakers Association a year later, more than 360 Kansans have been recognized for success in their agricultural operations and service to their communities.
In 1953, Kansas State University, through the Cooperative Extension Service, assumed responsibility for the selection process and setting up the annual banquet. Today, K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine co-sponsor the program.
County extension councils and extension districts nominate farm couples. The associate director for extension and applied research appoints a committee to choose one couple from each of the four extension areas in the state, plus two additional couples at large.
The two groups host an annual meeting and joint recognition banquet in the spring, where members discuss agricultural and rural issues, and share experiences with other members. This year, the meetings and banquet will be March 11 in Manhattan at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.
The combined group awards a $500 4-H scholarship each year to a high school senior or college undergraduate.
In addition, donations to the Rock Springs 4-H Center by Master Farmer individuals and the organization as a whole, are reflected in various facilities and improvements made at the center's campus near Junction City, Kansas.
Watch for profiles of each couple at www.farmprogress.com in the coming days.
Meet the Master Farmers:
Kevin and Barbara Alpers