McGraws receive Kansas Master awards

Six couples were honored as the 2019 class of Kansas Master Farmers and Master Farm Homemakers at a banquet held March 13 in Manhattan.

Doug and Saundra McGraw of Finney County were among the six couples honored.

The program, in its 93rd year, recognizes Kansas farm families for their leadership in agriculture, environmental stewardship and service to their communities. The award is co-sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and Kansas Farmer magazine.

Farming runs in the family for the McGraws. Growing up on their parents’ farms in Gray County introduced them to the rural lifestyle, which led to their own successful careers cultivating the land.

They introduced a number of progressive management practices to their wheat and alfalfa business, including low -drift nozzles for irrigation, reduced tillage and a two-way plow that enhanced the soil profile.

Doug attended Kansas State University before becoming a partner with his father. He was a member of the local soil conservation board and the National Association of Conservation Districts. In 1992, he was honored with the Conservation Award for Irrigation.

He has also been a member of the National Village Missions Board, which coordinates assigning pastors to rural churches.

Saundra earned a nursing degree and worked at a hospital in Garden City. She has kept her license current so that she could serve as a volunteer nurse in the community. She has also served on the local extension council and as county fair supervisor.

As chairman of the Finney County Fair Board, Doug helped facilitate the development of a new arena and plaza. Saundra helped to found a local chapter for the Christian Women’s Club. Recently, the couple started a project called ‘Redeeming Pierceville:’ they are cleaning town lots in hopes of improving the community’s culture.

The couple has four children: Jeff, who lives in Denver; Jennifer (and husband Marty Gleason), of Garden City; Joanna (and husband Brian Schmeeckle) of Garden City; and Jera (and husband Ryan Brady) of Garden City. The McGraws also have seven grandchildren.