Ag Report: May 4, 2012

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Poll identifies state’s 10


most influential ag people


Who are the most influential people in Kentucky agriculture today?

Would the farmers in western Kentucky have the same people on their top ten list as an individual involved in the equine industry? Would a beekeeper list the same top ten as a cattle producer? Does an agribusiness owner's list look anything like that of a commodity leader?

Keeton Communications conducted an informal poll of more than 100 individuals across the state, from farmers to leaders of commodity groups, to determine the most influential people in Kentucky agriculture today.

In the next five weeks, the Ag Report will count down that top 10. Today, 10 through 8:

§       No. 10 Billie Joe Miles: Not just an influential leader in Kentucky agriculture today, Miles has been a strong voice in agriculture on the state, national and international level for decades. Miles is best known in agricultural circles as owner of Miles Farm Supply in Owensboro and as an entrepreneur and advocate for the use of innovative technology in agriculture. Even though the company chose to get out of the farm supply business and rename the company to Miles Enterprises, Miles continues to remain an influential leader in Kentucky's agriculture community and beyond.

§       No. 9 Tom McKee: An advocate for Kentucky agriculture in his role as state representative for Kentucky's 78th district, which includes Harrison, Pendleton, and Robertson Counties, plus a part of Campbell County, McKee also farms in Harrison County and has been able to bring the voice of the farmer to Frankfort since 1996. He is the chair of the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee, and he also serves on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee. Since House Bill 611 was passed in 2000, McKee has been an outspoken supporter of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund investments made through cost-share programs on the local level. As a farmer he says he has seen how this cost-share opportunities have helped his neighbors and farmers across the state make much needed improvements to their farms. 

§       No. 8 Dave Maples: He might have grown up on his family's cattle farm in Alabama, but after Maples’ more than a decade as the executive director of the Kentucky Cattleman Association everyone in Kentucky's cattle industry would agree that he has become an honorary Kentuckian. Maples admits that he never imagined the opportunities that lay ahead for him and the association when he accepted the position more than a decade ago. "It has just been unreal what the Ag Development Fund investments have done for Kentucky's cattle industry," Maples said. "What has been even more amazing is how everyone has worked together to make it all happen, from our producers working at the county level to the industry leaders across the state." Maples is not one to seek out the spotlight and prefers to have the leadership at KCA to be the face of the industry. According to those leaders, what makes Maples so influential is his ability to connect people at all levels of the industry, from the farmer in the field to the political leaders.


Farmer of Year applications sought

Kentucky Farm Bureau has issued the call for applications for the 2012 KFB Farmer of the Year award, a program that recognizes KFB members for their commitment to excellence in agriculture, efficiency in farming practices, sound financial management and outstanding leadership in their county Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.

Eligibility and guidelines are included with the application, and can be downloaded at kyfb.com/federation/. All applications must be postmarked by July 2.

Entries will be narrowed down to the top three applicants over the summer, and finalists will be announced in mid-August. Judges will visit the three finalists in mid-September to conduct interviews and see their operations in action. The KFB Farmer of the Year will be announced at the organization’s 2012 state annual meeting in Louisville on Dec. 7.


Bulletin board

§       Jeneen Wiche will teach about flowers, trees and bushes to plant in your backyard to attract birds and butterflies along with tips for a vegetable garden at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Call 633-4593 to reserve your spot at this free session at the Shelby County Extension Office.  There will also be door prizes and a silent auction to benefit Operation Catsnip, with bidding beginning at 9:30 a.m.

§       Stormhaven Youth Ranch is hosting its spring opening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12. Lunch will be sold along with t-shirts and a bake sale. Pony rides, games galore and a day in the country are all free to local families.  Call 655-0845 for info. The ranch is at 504 Christiansburg Road, off KY 43 North.

§       The Luci Ball fundraiser for the Luci Center will be May 12 at Undulata Farm in Shelbyville. Proceeds from the event will go towards the therapeutic riding program. The evening features cocktails, Hors d’oeuvre, a silent auction and live music. Silent auction items include but are not limited to a 2013 spring wild turkey hunt, a Smokey Mountain condo, a romantic get-a-way at Snug Hollow B&B, a Keeneland box for fall racing meeting 2012 and a  TEKNA all-purpose English saddle. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thelucicenter.org or call 502-220-4308.

§       The Kentucky Cutting Horse Association will have its next show May 26-27 at the Rocky Fork Feeders Arena on Dover Road. The organization’s Web site is in the process of being updated.

§       The Shelby County Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday, 8 a.m. until noon, through Oct. 27 at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. Vendors from Shelby and surrounding areas offer several varieties of season produce, plus eggs, jams, jellies, flowers, perennials, shrubs and trees. In addition there is handmade soap, jewelry, pottery, yarn goods and other crafts.


The Kentucky Ag Report is compiled weekly from news releases distributed by Keeton Communications, the Kentucky Press News Service.