February 20, 2003

An Evening Of Food, Fellowship And Fun For The New Corn Growers Coalition

Anyone interested in Missouri Corn Growers in Scotland, Clark, Knox and Lewis Counties is invited to attend the meeting of the New Corn Growers Coalition, Saturday, February 22, at the VFW in Memphis. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with supper at 6:30 p.m. Roast beef, pork loin and all the fixins will be served.

Have you ever attended a meeting where the speaker was so dry he put you to sleep or so obscene you were embarrassed? You won't have to worry about either of those problems with Lewis Baumgartner, the World's Worst Farmer.

Lewis Baumgartner as the World's Worst Farmer, is one of America's leading farm humorists. Since 1987, he has entertained at hundreds of meetings and conventions all over the US and much of Canada. His hilarious tales of woe about his beloved farm, Ragweed Ranch in Cocklebur County, are a delight for all! You don't have to be a farmer to enjoy the humor of the World's Worst Farmer!

Folks in the audience laugh, slap their knees, and nod in understanding as he recounts the predicaments that can befall, not just the World's Worst Farmer, but almost any farmer. There will be no doubt in anyone's mind that he has really, been there, done that!

Lewis Baumgartner was born and raised on a small farm near Fulton. After graduating from high school in 1965, he went to work for a local building contractor, erecting pole barns. In the early 70's he had his own construction company while continuing to farm part time. In the late 70's he sold the building business to pursue his dream, full-time farming. A victim of bad timing and caught in the farm crisis of the early 80's, things got mighty tough on the Baumgartner farm.

Long hours on the tractor and combine provided plenty of time to think. To get his mind off his financial situation and to amuse himself between breakdowns, Lewis began developing stories, jokes, and poems about his farm, his family, his hometown and life in general. Before long he was billing himself as the World's Worst Farmer and making several appearances around close to home for senior citizens groups, service clubs and community functions. "My audiences seemed to enjoy it and I was having a ball," he says.

Word spread and what started out as a fun hobby, soon became a business. An article in the February 1989 issue of "Farm Journal" got him national attention. He has since been featured in two more national farm magazines, "Successful Farming" and "Farm and Ranch Living". Lewis is now in demand as an entertainer at all types of farm meetings and conventions. "It's getting to the point where I'm doing better telling folks how bad I am than I ever did farming," Lewis says.

In addition to farming and speaking Lewis writes a regular humor column for "Missouri Ruralist" magazine. He has recently compiled a collection of those columns into his first book, "World's Worst Farmer . . . From Ragweed Ranch in Cocklebur County".

The Baumgartner farming operation consists of corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle. Until 1996 he had a small farrow to finish hog operation but his main employee in the enterprise (wife, Janice) sold all the hogs while Lewis was off on a week-long speaking tour. "We don't have a big operation" Lewis says, "and I would really like to expand a little, but land in my area is too expensive to purchase and it's pretty hard for a fellow with my reputation to rent anything."

For more information contact Kenny and Dana Hauk, Kenny McNamar, or Brent Rockhold.

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