Thomas County couple named to Master Farmer roster

MANHATTAN – Six couples have been named Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers for 2013. According to a news release from Kansas State Research and Extension, the couples are identified as leaders in farming and their communities, and they will be honored at a banquet Friday in Manhattan.

Phillip and Sharron Knox

Phillip and Sharron Knox

The Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker award program began in 1927 and is sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.

Phillip and Sharron Knox, Brewster, are among the honorees

Phillip Knox knows what it’s like to work in agriculture, both as an educator and a farmer. He received a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California-Berkeley and taught at Colorado State University. He and his wife, Sharron, and their family have Knox Farms Inc., a family-owned feedlot. They also own part of a commercial feedlot in Goodland, as well as AgSun, a limited liability company that produces steam-flaked corn to sell to feedlots and dairies in western Kansas.

The Knox operation focuses on employing community members, and most employees are full-time, salaried managers who are responsible for cattle, dryland production, irrigated production or spraying operations. The Knox operation produces wheat, corn and beef cattle. The farm had an early commitment to no-till and uses a confined feeding operation manure management system with application to the no-till crops.

Sharron, a public health professional, worked nearly 30 years as a women, infants and children nutritionist. She also helps manage the business and accounting side of the farm. Both she and Phillip are 35-year members of the Thomas County Farm Bureau.

The Knox operation owns shares in U.S. Premium Beef, where the cattle are marketed. In the community, Phillip and Sharron have served as 4-H leaders, and Phillip is a member of the Lions Club in Brewster. They also have been active in local church and school activities.

They are the parents of three and have three grandchildren.

Selection of Master Farmer and Master Farm Homemaker couples is accomplished through K-State Research and Extension administrative areas. Local councils and districts submit nominations, and the associate director appoints a committee to pick one couple from each area — northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest — plus two couples at large.