Jim and Jan Stillman of Emmetsburg live a life of agriculture and education. For their years of work, they have been presented the Iowa Master Farmer Award by Wallaces Farmer magazine. They are among four Iowa farm families recognized in West Des Moines on March 14.
Receiving the Iowa Master Farmer award means a lot to Jim Stillman. "My dad and my uncle Phil also received this award and now I am following in their footsteps," he said.
William "Bill" Stillman of Emmetsburg was part of the Class of 1969 and Phillip Stillman of Emmetsburg is in the Class of 1982 as Master Farmer honorees.
THE STILLMAN FAMILY gathered in Des Moines when Jim and Jan Stillman of Emmetsburg were named Iowa Master Farmers by Wallaces Farmer magazine. Pictured (from the left) are Kari Stillman, Kristin Patterson, Korey Stillman, Jim Stillman, Kate Stillman, Jan Stillman holding granddaughter Malorie Stillman, Jeff Stillman and Paul Patterson. In front are grandchildren Addison Stillman, Jakob Patterson and Will Patterson. --photo courtesy of United Soybean Board
"I'm truly honored and humbled to be presented with the same recognition," said Jim.
"I remembered Lois had submitted Bill's name, so I submitted Jim's name for the award," said Jan Stillman. "At the time I didn't realize that all of the recipients were couples, and it has been that way for several years. This is a real honor for both of us."
The Iowa Master Farmer Award was initiated in 1926 by then editor Henry A. Wallace. Deserving Iowa farm families have been recognized every year since, with the exception of 1932-37 during the Great Depression; during World War II from 1942 to 1945; and in 1962. The 2013 selections bring the total of 437 Iowans who have been honored since 1926.
In addition to Jim and Jan Stillman, additional families honored are Jay and Jeanne Hansen of Hudson; Nichols Farms, J. David, Phillis and Lillian, of Bridgewater; and Jim and Ann Werner of Diagonal.
The Stillman family gathered in Des Moines for the award ceremony last week. Kate Stillman came from Denver, CO; Kristin and Paul Patterson, and their children Jakob and Will, arrived from Norwalk; and, Korey and Kari Stillman came from Marion with their children Addison and Malorie. Jim's brother, Jeff Stillman of Emmetsburg, also joined the family gathering.
A Busy Year
This is a busy year for Jim and Jan. They are traveling the United States together and working as a team.
Jim serves as chair of the United Soybean Board this year. In this position, he has traveled to Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Arizona and?Louisiana, so far this year. This week he is in Washington, D.C. to meet with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
"This is my first time to meet with Secretary Vilsack since I have become chairman," said Jim.
With spring approaching, Jim said, "Jeff has taken care of a lot of the farming and I really appreciate that."
Jim and Jeff operate adjoining family farms. Jim farms 700 acres of his own land and shares equipment and labor with Jeff, who farms 1,100 acres.
Jim and Jan Stillman are fourth-generation owners of the original 1878 Stillman family farmstead.
Jan Stillman taught at Emmetsburg Catholic School for 19 years. She continues in education as a CommonGround volunteer.
"We are a volunteer group of farm wives engaging in conversations with consumers to share facts about where food comes from," said Jan. "We get out correct information about what we grow, crops and animals. There is so much information out there, we are getting the true story to the public."
Information is available at www.FindOurCommonGround.com
"We have enjoyed our travels this year," said Jan. "My favorite part is, these are places I might not have chosen but find very interesting things to do. I never thought we would get this opportunity to travel the United States like this."
Jim and Jan also keep busy with Generation Soy, their soy-candle business. They continue to serve their church and community as board members and volunteers.