Young farmer summer outing . . .

Posted on Aug 15, 2014
The summer outing for KFB’s young farmers and their families was based in Elizabethtown and featured tours of some award-winning farms in Hardin, LaRue and Hart counties, as well as visits to signature locales like Glendale, Maker’s Mark Distillery and My Old Kentucky Home.

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.

State Senator Dennis Parrett of Hardin County urged the young farmers to be involved with public policy issues.
State Senator Dennis Parrett of Hardin County urged the young farmers to be involved with public policy issues.

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.”

At Meadow View Farms the group stopped at the massive grain storage area that can handle around 400,000 bushels.
At Meadow View Farms the group stopped at the massive grain storage area that can handle around 400,000 bushels.

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.”

A tour group checked out some of the preserved equipment at Meadow View Farms.
A tour group checked out some of the preserved equipment at Meadow View Farms.

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.

An immaculate shed served as the lunch room at Fresh Start Farms, operated by national award winners Ryan and Misty Bivens.
An immaculate shed served as the lunch room at Fresh Start Farms, operated by national award winners Ryan and Misty Bivens.

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.”

Tagged Post Topics Include: AFBF Annual Convention, Back Forty Farms, Cameron Edwards, Casey Story, Cecilia Farm Service, Chris Pierce, Dennis Parrett, Discussion Meet, Dustin White, Eddie Melton, Elizabethtown, Fleming County, Fresh Start Farms, Geralds Farm, Glendale, Hardin County, Harrison County, Hart County, Hinton's Orchard, Jeff Harper, Jeremy Hinton, Joanna Hinton, Kentucky Farmer of the Year, LaRue County, Maker's Mark Distillery, Mary Courtney, Meadow View Farms, Mercer County, Mike Meyer, Misty Bivens, My Old Kentucky Home, Outstanding Young Farm Family, Publishers Press, Pulaski County, Ragland Family, Ray Allen Mackey, Rebekah Pierce, Roundstone Native Seed, Ryan Bivens, Shady Rest Farm, Shelby County, State Senator, Stephen Foster Story, Sunbelt Expo, Swisher Sweets, Tammy White, Tiffany Ison, Union County, Upton, Water T Kelley Bee Company, Webster County, Zack Ison