Graves County’s Vincent ‘Keith’ Lowry named Farmer of the Year
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2015) — The Kentucky Farm Bureau named the farm bureaus in Mercer, Butler and Bullitt counties as ‘Top County’ in 2015 during the 96th KFB annual meeting held this week at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville. Kentucky Farm Bureau, with more than 468,000 member families statewide, is the state’s largest general farm organization.
Top County awards were based on membership size. Mercer County, with 3,351 members, won among counties with 2,601 to 4,200 members. Butler County, which has 2,170 members, won for membership sizes with 2,600 or fewer members. Bullitt County, which has 5,900 members, won for counties with more than 4,200 members.
The “Top County” announcement headlined more than 110 membership program and insurance honors presented during the ceremony.
Farmer of the Year
Vincent “Keith” Lowry of Graves County was honored as the “Farmer of the Year.”
Lowry began his career in farming in 1976 with 200 acres of cropland and a tobacco crop. That operation has grown considerably over the past 39 years and today includes 2,400 acres of wheat, half of which is grown for seed; 3,400 acres of corn, which is marketed to two poultry operations; and 3,400 acres of soybeans grown for seed production.
In addition to the crops, Lowry Farms has a fleet of eight trucks that haul fertilizer and seed beans, along with an excavating business. Lowry’s operation is currently 85 percent no-till but he hopes to raise that to 100 percent. He also plans to expand the grain handling facility to better market the crops and continue his work in seed production.
John Bays of Knox County, and Mike Bach from Bath County, were also finalists for the award.
Outstanding Farm Bureau Youth
Benjamin Pinkeston of Mercer County and Reagan Miller of Warren County were awarded top honors in the 2015 Outstanding Farm Bureau Youth contest.
Pinkston and Miller were selected from 22 district finalists out of approximately 400 young people who competed in county and district contests over the past several months. Judges met with finalists for personal interviews during the annual meeting, awarding points for each contestant’s leadership record, conversational ability and scholastic achievement. For winning, KFB gave both Pinkston and Miller a $2,000 college scholarship, an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., on the KFB Congressional Tour in February 2016, a luggage set and watch.
Distinguished Service to Agriculture
Ohio County farmer Dane Milligan has been named winner of KFB’s annual award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture.
His many achievements in farming and service to the agriculture industry began at the age of 9 for the now, 75-year-old Milligan. He was an active participant in 4-H raising and showing beef calves. While in high school, Milligan became active in FFA while raising corn and soybeans on the family farm. He began full-time farming after high school while attending Western Kentucky University where he earned a B.S. in agriculture.
2015 Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau Award
Mary Nelle White of Union County was named winner of the 2015 Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau Award. White, 80, remains active in the family’s multi-generational farming operation taking care of the farm accounting. White Farms consists of 13,000 acres of livestock and grain production.
White has served Union County Farm Bureau as president and vice-president numerous times over the years developing several outstanding programs. She served for many years as a voting delegate at the KFB Annual Meeting and has been an American Farm Bureau Federation Women’s voting delegate.
White has also served on many KFB committees including as the District 2 Women’s Chair on the State Resolutions Committee; she has worked with the Conservation District for 23 years; and under her leadership, the Union County Farm Bureau began a Safety Day program for fifth-grade students that has continued for 22 years.
- Outstanding County Farm Bureaus were designated in 11 of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 11 districts. The recipients were: Bath, Butler, Clark, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Mercer, Perry, Pulaski, and Scott Counties.
- McCreary, Mason and Bullitt Counties received Top Growth Awards for having the largest percentage of membership gain from 2014.
- Pacesetter Awards were given to counties in the three membership size classifications that were the first to achieve a membership gain during the year. The large county award went to Barren County, followed in size by Mason and McCreary Counties.
- 11 counties won honors for having the highest member retention totals in their districts. Those winners were: Butler, Campbell, Floyd, Knott, Lee, Lewis, Monroe, Pulaski, Trigg, Todd and Woodford Counties.
- Wayne County was honored for having 52 consecutive years of membership growth.
- Hancock County was recognized as the Most Improved County Farm Bureau.
- Three awards were given for most effective county Farm Bureau information programs. Mercer County won first place, Daviess County was second and Harlan County was third.
- 108 counties won awards for policy growth and profitability produced by their local Farm Bureau insurance agencies. Anderson, Carroll, Estill, LaRue, Ohio and Wolfe Counties came closest to the growth goal set for that county.