LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2012) — The Kentucky Agriculture Report released the first three names on its list of the Top 10 Most Influential People.
Kara Keeton of Keeton Communications, publisher of Kentucky Agriculture Report, sent an informal poll to over 100 individuals across the state, from farmers to leaders of commodity groups, asking them to share their lists of the most influential people in Kentucky agriculture today.
“While the poll was in no way statistically significant, I did receive and amazing response,” Keeton said. “Over the next five weeks the Kentucky Agriculture Report will countdown the list of the Top 10 Most Influential People in Kentucky Agriculture Today.”
No. 10 — Billie Joe Miles
Billie Joe Miles is not just an influential leader in Kentucky agriculture today, but has been strong voice in agriculture on the state, national, and international level for decades, Keeton said. 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, she said.
No. 9 — Tom McKee
Tom McKee is 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, Keeton said. 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 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, Keeton said.
No. 8 — Dave Maples
Dave Maples might have grown up on his family’s cattle farm in Alabama, but after 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, Keeton said.
Maples admits 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,” he 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, Keeton said.