Master Farmer, Master Homemaker named
by Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension
A Jefferson County couple is among six statewide who 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.
Craig and Tamara Gigstad, Valley Falls, will will be among those honored at a banquet 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.
Whether it’s cooking up food for the medical center fundraiser or teaching children to make beautiful music, Craig and Tamara Gigstad are deeply involved in their community. That’s in addition to running their farm in Jefferson County where they grow corn, soybeans, and hay.
As their three children entered the scene, the family motto became “Work together, then we’ll play together.”
One key to their business, they said, is working as a couple to analyze their farm computer records quarterly and again annually, to compare trends and plan for the future. Especially important is net income per acre, with consideration of additional inputs affecting potential yield with their two new pivots – the first in the hills of Jefferson County.
From 1983 to 2008, the couple raised swine and sold more than 1,000 finished pigs annually. Now their focus is on crop production and good stewardship of the land. They grow corn, soybeans and grass hay.
As far back as 17 years ago, they began using grid soil test sampling. No-till and conservation-till practices are standard on the Gigstad farm. They are currently involved with direct shipments of soybeans to customers in China.
The couple has converted waterways to tile terrace systems and planted windbreaks for conservation.
Craig has served in numerous capacities, including chairman of the Kansas Soybean Association, and is currently on the United Soybean Board. He’s been an active member of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, and National Corn Growers Association.
As a public school educator for more than 34 years, Tamara has introduced music to hundreds of children and was honored as Outstanding Music Educator in Northeast Kansas.
She currently teaches in USD 339, Jefferson County North, Winchester and Nortonville. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas.
Tamara has served on the F.W. Huston Medical Center Foundation Board for more than 28 years, including as chair for the past 12 years.
Craig and Tamara are lifelong members of the Effingham Union Church, where they’ve each taken on numerous leadership positions.
Driven by their belief in education and advocacy, the couple hosts field days for adults and children, alike.
Their children are son, Derek, and his wife, Laura, and grandchildren Ryker and Axton; and daughter, Danae, and her husband, Justin, and daughter, Devin.
The other couples to be honored are Kevin and Barbara Alpers, Hudson, Dwight and Cindy Baldwin, McPherson, Don and Lois Martin, Clay Center, Ronald and Patricia Fredrickson, Osage City, and Ki and Kim Gamble, Greensburg.
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