Young farmer summer outing . . .Posted on Aug 15, 2014
There also was business to attend to. After the first rounds of the Discussion Meet, four finalists emerged to compete in the finals at the KFB annual meeting in December. The “final four” are Casey Story of Fleming County, Mike Meyer of Harrison County, Mary Courtney of Shelby County and Cameron Edwards of Webster County.
Finalists in the Outstanding Young Farm Family also were announced. They are Zack and Tiffany Ison of Mercer County, Chris and Rebekah Pierce of Pulaski County and Dustin and Tammy White of Union County.
The state winners of the discussion meet and OYFF will represent KFB in the national contests at AFBF’s annual meeting in January.
The traditional “Eggs and Issues” breakfast featured an address from State Senator Dennis Parrett, a former extension agent who operates Cecilia Farm Service just west of E’town. He noted a long history with KFB, having been the state discussion meet runner-up 30 years ago.
The first-term senator urged the young farmers to get engaged with the public policy process because “it doesn’t just effect you; it’s important to your children’s future.”
He advised to “learn your issues. Know what you are talking about.”
Parrett said he is fortunate to serve on the Senate committees that handle agriculture and military affairs. “The easiest bills to pass are agriculture and the military. That’s because there’s a tremendous amount of respect for farmers and the military,” he said.
Also addressing the group that morning was KFB First Vice President Eddie Melton, a row crop producer from Webster County who was active in the young farmer program. To underscore the importance of such events, Melton said “if we don’t have young farmers coming into our organization, we will die on the vine.”
He also urged involvement with the issues. “We have a lot of things coming at us in the agriculture industry,” he said. “The issues are what’s really important.”
Melton recalled that the young farmer program didn’t involve families when he first became involved in the late 1980s. “It’s exciting to see all the families here,” he said.
KFB Public Affairs Director Jeff Harper also spoke to the group, proving an overview of some state priority issues. The young farmers then formed groups by district to discuss those and other issues.
The afternoon’s farm tours had an impressive lineup. At Meadow View Farms, row crops, tobacco and hogs were on display in a huge operation run by Ray Allan Mackey, who has been named “Kentucky Farmer of the Year” for 2014. As such, he will represent Kentucky in the prestigious Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year contest.
Other options included two national award winning farms in LaRue County: Fresh Start Farms, a large row crop operation for Ryan and Misty Bivens; and Hinton’s Orchard and Farm Market, operated by Jeremy and Joanna Hinton.
Another great LaRue County farm on the agenda was Shady Rest Farm, a 10th generation farm owned by the Ragland family. It is a 4,000-acre diversified operation with row crops and swine.
In Hardin County, a tour stopped at Back Forty Farms, a row crop operation that has received much recognition for innovative conservation practices.
One tour went into Hart County for a stop at Geralds Farm, one of the largest and most successful forage operations in the state. Another stop was at Roundstone Native Seed, near Upton along the Hardin-LaRue County line.
On the opening day separate groups toured Publishers Press, which has been printing KFB News since 2002; historic Glendale and Walter T. Kelley Bee Company. That evening brought a picnic on the grounds of My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, with an opportunity to attend the famous “Stephen Foster Story.”
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