JUNCTION CIY, Kan. - Six couples 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. More information about the program or the banquet is available by calling 785-532-5820.
The 2011 Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers are:
Pratt County: David and Paula Blasi, Pratt, Kan.Photo available
David and Paula Blasi have planted registered or foundation seed wheat from Kansas State University since they began farming in 1967. When the opportunity arose, the Blasis joined the Kansas Crop Improvement Association and began selling certified and registered wheat to local growers. David also strives for excellent seed stock in their Angus-based cow-calf operation, which he has owned for more than 40 years.
David and Paula share their farm with 125 fourth graders during the annual Kids Day on the Farm to help youth understand agriculture. David has served on the Iuka Co-op Board of Directors and received the Outstanding Farmer award from the Pratt Jaycee 4-H Club. Paula currently teaches fifth grade at Pratt’s Southwest Elementary. She has served as City Council President, Pratt County 4-H Community Leader and on the Pratt County Extension Council.
David and Paula believe that the key to a successful family is working together. Son Jesse (married to Sarah) farms with his father, as well as owns his own operation as an AgSeCo dealer and serves as Iuka Fire Department captain. Daughter Elly (married to Jason Sneath) is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Meade County and was named a Master Gardener in 2009.
Stafford County: Carl and Jeanette Hildebrand, Stafford, Kan.Photo available
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. The couple believes in operational growth for the sake of economic stability and preservation of their agricultural heritage. 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.
The Hildebrand’s value hard work, teamwork and land stewardship. Their two sons, Matt and Chad, share these values. Matt attends Hutchinson Community College, studying Auto Collision Repair Technology. He plans to return to the farm after graduation to farm, ranch and restore cars. Chad is a tenth grader at Stafford High School. He participates in many student activities, including FFA, Math Olympiads, wrestling and 4-H.
Riley County: Galen and Nancy Hofmann, Leonardville, Kan.
Fourth-generation farmers, Galen and Nancy Hofmann, 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 Hofmann’s are one of the original participants in the Riley County Extension test plot program for milo.
The Hofmanns believe that it is important to teach others about agriculture and remind them where their food comes from. To help connect children with agriculture, the couple has been hosting Kids Ag Day on the Farm for six years. Galen has served on the Riley County Livestock Association, Kansas Livestock Association and Riley County Farm Bureau. Galen and Nancy are both active members and leaders in their church. Nancy substitutes at Riley schools and has served as a Riley County Farm Bureau Board member.
Galen and Nancy, along with their three children, have always made family a priority. They enjoy doing all sorts of activities together, from farm work to sports and vacations. Gayle graduated from Newman University with a degree in business administration and now works for CCH Accounting. Michelle is a Certified Nurses Aid and enjoys volunteering for Mercy Health Center, Hospice Memory Walk and Alzheimer’s Walk. Darren is currently a student at Central Christian College, studying small business management.
Kingman County: Ross and Judy Kinsler, Kingman, Kan.Photo available
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.
Ross and Judy believe every farmer is the voice of agriculture. To help their voice be heard, the couple is active in several organizations. Ross has been a member of Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Kansas Livestock Association and was an FFA advisor for two years. Judy is a member of the Kingman County Farm Bureau and volunteers annually at the Farm Bureau Ag Safety Day. She has served on the St. Patrick’s Church Parish Council. As a registered nurse, she takes 16 hours of continuing education annually.
The Kinsler’s have three children, Dennis, Ann and Ryan. Dennis owns his own company, Z Acquisitions, located in Dallas, Texas. Ann is a physical therapist in Harvey County. She and her husband, Dan, have three young children. Ryan is currently studying agricultural diesel mechanics at Hutchinson Community College. Next, he plans to attend Kansas State University and study agricultural technology management.
Bourbon County: Larry and Debra Martin, Fort Scott, Kan.
Larry and Debra Martin site 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 enjoyed several trips together. They traveled to many places in the United States and have made international trips to Italy, England, Scotland and Wales. Larry and Debra have two sons, Tyler and Kyle, and six grandchildren.
Thomas County: Carl and Patricia Ziegelmeier, Gem, Kan.Photo available
Establishing and expanding their operation to develop a legacy for the next generation has been a long-time goal for Carl and Patricia Ziegelmeier. The couple started out working for their parent’s 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. The couple uses conservation practices whenever possible, including no-till when soil type and slope allow. Carl and Patricia also have some land in the Conservation Reserve Program.
The Ziegelmeiers desire to make their community a better place to live and work has motivated them to become active in several organizations. Carl has been a director of the Western Kansas Farm Credit Association since 1984. Patricia has been a music instructor at Colby Community College since 1988. She is also the 22-year director of the Western Plains Arts Association. The couple is active in their church and supporters of the Colby school system.
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. Matt, his wife and three children farm with Carl and Patricia. Steve is a commodities broker and farmer. He and his wife have four children and are currently foster parents. Lisa Hernanadez works as a speech language therapist in Fort Collins, Colo. Lisa and her husband have two sons and recently adopted a little girl from Ethiopia. Amy Ashlock is controller/ general manager of Accounting for AgRex, Inc. She and her husband have two daughters. Lori Neuberg is working on her doctorate in math from Colorado State University.