Ryan and Misty Bivens named Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 2012 Outstanding Young Farm Family

Posted on Nov 21, 2012

Louisville, KY (December 7, 2012) Ryan and Misty Bivens of LaRue County were honored as Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) 2012Outstanding Young Farm Family” during the organization’s 93rd annual meeting in Louisville. Each year KFB awards this distinction to a coupleunder age 35 who has exhibitedthe strongest farm management skills,most consistent financial growth and highest level of involvement in both Farm Bureau and their community.

Ryan and Misty Bivens (center) received the 2012 “Outstanding Young Farm Family” award during Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Louisville. Presenting the award, from left to right, are Mark Haney, KFB President (left) and David S. Beck, KFB Executive Vice President (right).

In addition to receiving statewide recognition as the newest “Outstanding Young Farm Family,” the Bivens won a Case IH Scout courtesy of KFB Insurance and Case IH, an Apple iPad2 from Republic Bank & Trust, $1,000 cash from Premier Crop Insurance, a $750 Dyna-Gro seed voucher from Crop Production Services, a $500 voucher from Southern States Cooperative, a portable handgun safe from Misty Morn Safe Company, and a voucher for 16 bags of seed corn from Pioneer Seed. They also received an expense-paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national young farmer contest next month in Nashville, Tennessee.

Winners of the national contest will take home their choice of either a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2013 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, and a paid registration to the 2013 Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, February 8-11, 2013. Three national runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 65A, courtesy of Case IH, a $2,500 cash prize and a STIHL Farm Boss chainsaw, courtesy of STIHL.

KFB’s second place distinction went to Michael and Jill Harton of Christian County. They received 250 hours free use of a Kubota tractor, an Apple iPad 2 from Republic Bank & Trust, $750 cash from Premier Crop Insurance, a $500 Dyna-Gro seed voucher from Crop Production Services, a $300 voucher from Southern States Cooperative, and a voucher for 12 bags of seed corn from Pioneer Seed.

The third place winners were Bruce and Charissa Wade of Mercer County. They won 100 hours free use of a New Holland tractor, an Apple iPad 2 from Republic Bank & Trust, $500 cash from Premier Crop Insurance, a $250 Dyna-Gro seed voucher from Crop Production Services, and a $200 voucher from Southern States Cooperative, and a voucher for 8 bags of seed corn from Pioneer Seed.

Ryan & Misty Bivens

The Bivens are first-generation farmers on the land they work and own in LaRue County, raising approximately2,400 acres of corn, more than 1,900 acres of soybeans, nearly 1,200 acres of wheat, 250 acres of grass hay, 30 acres of alfalfa, plus 26 head of commercial beef cattle. They operate on a total of 5,753 acres, own 587 acres of that land and rent the remaining portion.

Ryan grew up working on neighboring farms and Misty was raised on a beef cattle and tobacco farm, but both admit thatthey discovered their passion for agriculture as they launched FFA projects in high school. After graduating from college, Misty landed a job as a high school agriculture teacher, taking them to their new home in LaRue County and providing them with anopportunity to establish a family farm of their own.Today the Bivens share many of the owner-based decisions on their farm – capital investments, employee management and long-range planning – but also have individualized roles. Ryan oversees the day-to-day operations of input purchases, field operations, financing and marketing while Misty facilitates the farm’s public relations and social media efforts.

“From our experience as first generation farmers we know that it takes lots of hard work, determination and a strong plan to make it in production agriculture,” said Ryan. “We have not walked into an established operation, inherited a family operation, or won the lottery. Everything we currently have has been purchased and acquired as a team.”

Since starting their farm in 2002, the Bivens have worked diligently to expand their production capabilities. They have grown the farm’s size from its initial 1,000 acres to today’s 5,753 acres, increased grain storage capacity to 265,000 bushels, and constructed a 17,200-square-foot building that serves as their base of operations with offices, shop space and equipment storage area.

The Bivens aren’t done yet. Among their most ambitious projects for the near future, theyplan to continue increasing the amount of land they directly own to 1,000 acres, expanding their grain storage capacity to 600,000 bushels, and, with one of their business partners, building and operating a 4,000-cow dairy facility – an operation that would be three times larger than any other dairy in the state.

This project will not only impact us, but our whole regional economy,” said Ryan. “It will employ 50 full-time employees and because of our great location… it will be built to accommodate school and tour groups.”

Outside of life on the farm, Misty is the current president of LaRue County Farm Bureau, Ryan is the immediate past president, and both have served in numerous other leadership positions during their time on the board of directors.Ryan additionally served a year as the chair of the KFB Young Farmer Advisory Committee and a State Director,he currently serves as vice president of the Kentucky Soybean Association board of directors and he is a leader or member of numerous other ag and civic organizations. Misty was inducted into Kentucky’s High School Ag Teacher Hall of Fame, twice named Regional Ag Teacher of the Year, and also volunteers her time to serve andlead in numerous other organizations. The Bivens have alsowon the KFB Excellence in Agricultureaward, each captured first place in the KFB Discussion Meet, and just last year were honored with one of only five of “America’s Best Young Farmer” awards by DTN/Progressive Farmer.

We must brag on the fact that we have surrounded ourselves with an excellent group of people, and because of that we have been successful, concluded Ryan.

Michael & Jill Harton

Second place finishers, Michael and Jill Harton, have been farming together since 2005, building their operation from concept phase into today’s 175-acre farm in just a few short years. The Harton’s grow corn, wheat, soybeans and dark-fired tobacco while supplying much of the labor to maintain these crops themselves. Michael also currently serves on the Christian County Farm Bureau board as the treasurer and volunteers his time to several other county Farm Bureau committees and local organizations.

Bruce & Charissa Wade

Third place finishers, Bruce and Charissa Wade, started their family farm in 2001 and quickly grew the operation into a 3,300-acre farm that required them both to devote full-time their employment. The Wades currently run commercial cow/calf and stocker cattle operations while raising corn, soybeans alfalfa and tobacco. Bruce has served as a board member for Mercer County Farm Bureau and both regularly volunteer their time and leadership abilities to local agricultural and civic organizations.

With nearly 500,000 member families statewide, Kentucky Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Approximately 1,700 members attended KFB’s 93rd annual meeting, December 5-8, to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements as well as adopt policy for 2013. To view all the updates released from this year’s annual meeting, visit KYFBNewsroom.com.