Kansas Master Farmers, Master Farm Homemakers Class of 2022 Announced


The 95th class of Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers has been announced. Twelve individuals from across the state will be honored in March for their service to Kansas agriculture and their communities.

Daryl Bucholz, associate director emeritus of Cooperative Extension and secretary of the Kansas Master Farmer Association and the Kansas Master Farm Homemakers Guild, made the announcement.

Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers are nominated by their local extension councils, and a selection committee then reviews their nominations. The program is co-sponsored by Kansas State University Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.

Class of 2022

This year’s winners include:

Philip and Jane Halling, Atchison County. For 45 years, the Hallings have built their corn and soybean farm near Lancaster, Kan. They use reduced tillage and high residue management to conserve their resources, and they raise livestock year-round. The couple served on the board of the Atchison County Agricultural Bureau for more than 25 years and hosted K-State research and extension test plots on their farmland for more than 20 years.

Mark and Marcia Knudson, Brown County. The Knudsons are fourth-generation farmers on family land outside of Hiawatha, Kansas. They started farming in 1980 and transitioned from tillage to no-till for their row crops, with the goal of becoming a sustainable farm. They are also implementing technology to capture data about their crops. Today, they have a simplified operation that includes a cow-calf herd and cropland. The couple volunteered with Brown County Extension and the local 4-H club.

Donna Pearson McClish and David Pearson, Sedgwick County. For the first time, this year’s class includes a sibling duo. Donna and David carry on the tradition of the Pearson family farms, started in 1968 by their parents near Wichita, Kan. This urban farm gave birth to their Common Ground mobile market and mobile food hub, which they launched in 2014 to provide healthy produce to people. in food insecure areas of Sedgwick, Harvey and Butler counties. David is the manager of the family farm, while Donna is the CEO of farm operations and the mobile market. Donna serves on the State Extension Advisory Council, an advisory group to the Director of Extension. It is a pride that Pearson’s Family Farms is one of 52 African American-owned farms that are still operated by the original owners and exist today in the Sunflower State.

Richard and Anita Poland, Barber County. As Medicine Lodge’s FFA advisor, Richard decided to use his family’s Angus herd as a teaching tool and created the Poland Angus Ranch judging competition, welcoming over 7,000 students over the years to the Poland Ranch. near Isabel, Kan. The ranch was an early adopter of AI and embryo transfer technology to build the couple’s Angus herd, and the Polands have been collecting ultrasound data on carcass merit since 1990. The couple have also volunteered in their community with the Extension and 4-H programs.

Todd and Charlene Sheppard, Pottawatomie County. The Sheppards met and fell in love at K-State and married in 1990. As Todd began his law career, Charlene stayed home to raise their two sons and manage the ranch. Today, Charlene manages the ranch and Todd is president of Charlson & Wilson in Manhattan, Kan. They built their current herd of 120 registered Charolais cows over the past 25 years, using AI and embryo transfer. Over the years, they have devoted much of their time to Pottawatomie County 4-H and Extension, the Kansas Farm Bureau, and the American International Charolais Association, among other organizations.

Rick and Connie Thompson, District Frontier Extension. The Thompsons have changed and adapted their family farm over the past 40 years. Today they grow corn, soybeans and wheat, and also have cattle and sheep. If you have a question about commercial sheep production in Kansas, the Thompsons are your go-to couple. The Thompsons volunteered much of their time to the Kincaid Fair Association, as well as the Anderson County Fair and Extension Council. Today, they are integrating their son Blake and Blake’s wife, Hannah, into the multi-generational farm operation.


The Kansas Master Farmer Award was established in 1927 by Senator Arthur Capper, then editor of Kansas Farmer. A year later, Farmer’s Wife magazine, which is no longer in print, started the Master Farm Homemaker Guild, with help from Kansas State University. At first, the two programs operated separately and the winners were individuals rather than couples.

More than 400 farming couples have been recognized and become members of the Kansas Master Farmer Association and the Kansas Master Farm Homemakers Guild. The goal was to publicly honor excellence in agriculture, housekeeping, farm life and rural citizenship.

In 1953, the K-State Cooperative Extension Service took over the selection process and coordination of the annual honor banquet.

Today, K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine co-sponsor the program, with financial support from the Kansas Farm Bureau, Frontier Farm Credit and American AgCredit.

Appointment process

Nominations for the next class, the Class of 2023, are due May 1. If you would like to see a farming couple named, contact your local extension agent; call the K-State Research and Extension administrative office at 785-532-5820; or email Daryl Buchholz at [email protected].

Be sure to read more about each of the six pairs in the Class of 2022 in upcoming issues of Kansas Farmer magazine online and in print.


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