Rep. Tom McKee honored for Distinguished Service to Agriculture

Posted on Dec 6, 2013
Louisville, KY (December 6, 2013) – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee has been named winner of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture. He was honored during the organization’s 94th annual meeting at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, receiving an engraved watch and plaque.

McKee, 72, has operated a family farm in Harrison County for 50 years, producing tobacco, cattle and grain. The McKee farmland dates back to 1836 and was expanded by Tom’s grandfather and father. Tom and his wife, Sue, took over the operation in 1963 and currently farm more than 1,000 acres.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee (center left), accompanied by his wife, Sue (center right) received the 2013 Distinguished Service to Agriculture award at the organization’s annual meeting, held in Louisville. The award was presented by David S. Beck, KFB Executive Vice President (left), and Mark Haney, KFB President (right).

Rep. McKee was nominated and selected for the prestigious award because of a long-time, high level of accomplished service to the state’s agriculture industry. He has done so within Farm Bureau circles, with other farm groups and as an elected official at the county and state levels.

“Tom has always been dedicated to agriculture,” said Harrison County Farm Bureau President Jennifer Yazell. “He’s been there whenever our farmers needed his help. We are very fortunate to have him represent us in the legislature.”

After serving 19 years as a Harrison County Magistrate, Rep. McKee was elected to the General Assembly in 1996 to represent the 78th legislative district. He rose to become chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and has championed many causes on behalf of agriculture, most notably as one of the leading backers of legislation that created Kentucky’s historic agricultural development initiative utilizing tobacco settlement funds. That bill has turned out to be a landmark in reshaping the state’s agricultural economy in response to tobacco’s decline.

All told, Rep. McKee has sponsored more than 40 bills that became law, according to the Legislative Research Commission.

Rep. McKee returned to his farm roots after graduating from Centre College. He has been active with Harrison County Farm Bureau since his teenage years and served three terms as president, along with many other roles on the board of directors. At the state level he chaired the Young Farmer committee.

His service to agriculture also extends to leadership roles with the Cattlemen’s Association, conservation organizations and extension. Additionally, he’s been a strong supporter of FFA, 4-H and the county fairs system that promotes agriculture and youth development.

Harrison County Extension Agent Gary Carter has known Rep. McKee for more than 30 years and says “I’m ecstatic about this because you couldn’t have made a better choice.”

“He’s done a lot for agriculture,” Carter added. “He’s one of those people who keeps an open mind and looks at everything closely. He never brings up the politics; he’s just looking to do what’s best. He’s a very even keel type of person. And he has good farming practices. I’d describe him as a real gentleman and an excellent farmer.”

Rep. McKee also is a community leader. He’s been a deacon, trustee and elder at the Cynthiana Presbyterian Church and was a longtime director of Harrison Memorial Hospital.

Most recently he was elected Vice-Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference which represents 15 southern states.

Tagged Post Topics Include: 4-H, Annual Meeting, Cattlemen's Association, Centre College, Distinguished Service to Agriculture, FFA, Galt House, Gary Carter, Harrison County, Jennifer Yazell, KFB, Legislative Research Commission, Tom McKee