Roger and Kathy Carlson named Iowa Master Farmers

Roger and Kathy Carlson, Red Oak, Iowa, were honored as Iowa Master Farmers at a March 21 awards luncheon at Ankeny.
The Iowa Master Farmer program is sponsored by Wallaces Farmer magazine and Growmark. The award began in 1926 when Henry A. Wallace decided his family’s magazine, Wallaces Farmer, would sponsor the annual award. Selection as Master Farmers reflects the magazine’s motto — “Good Farming, Clear Thinking, Right Living”.
The Carlsons began farming in 1974. After a few years, they ran smack-dab in the middle of the 1980s farm crisis.
“The early 1980s were a shock to us,” recalls Kathy. For her, it meant working off-farm for three years in a factory office.
Meanwhile, Roger assembled a team — including bankers and others — to help the couple forge through the bleak times.
“Number one was keeping good records,” Kathy says. “Roger did our cash flows and balance sheets every single year before going into the bank for a loan.”
The value of forming relationships also surfaced during this time.
“The key thing—and Roger was really, really good at it — is making relationships with people,” Kathy says. This benefitted them in several ways, such as in renting ground from landlords. Over time, they rented multiple farms, many from the second and third generation of landlords.
Roger passed away in January 2024. Kathy and two of her children, Kelly Osheim and Tony Carlson, continue the farming operation.
“I am not sure that [being an Iowa Master Farmer] was something he [Roger] would have anticipated being, but he was a very good farmer, successful at what he did,” says Kathy. “He worked hard all the time. He always tried to do his very best. If there was something new in the ag world, he would read about it. He might not be the first person to try something new, but he certainly was not the last. I’m so proud of him and what he accomplished during his lifetime.”

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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