The 47th Annual Farm City Breakfast was held, this past Wednesday, at Mahr Park Event Barn B, with over 200 guests in attendance to pay respect and honor our farmers and agriculturalists of Hopkins County. This annual event is usually held at a local church with volunteers cooking the breakfast, but with the cancellation of last year due to COVID, this year’s event had a much larger guest list.

“This space allowed us to hold the event and still be safe, with the open air concept. Today, you just have to bundle up a little bit,” Lisa Miller Hopkins County Director of Membership.

A chilly November day, but perfect to honor those in the agricultural field. The Madisonville North Hopkins and Hopkins Central FFA presented the opening ceremony, followed by a welcome speech from Kenni Crane, County Executive Director for Farm Service Agency, and recognition of sponsors and introductions from Libby Spencer, Chamber of Commerce President.

Special guest speaker, Jonathan Shell shared his experiences in farming and agriculture, and how the pandemic has had affect on the farmers and their way of life. Farming and agricultural is the backbone of this country. While other countries make goods and products, they can’t grow food quite like the United States can.

“There are more than 76,000 farms in the state of Kentucky, mostly family-owned. Kentucky is number one east of the Mississippi in the country for farming, and number eight in beef cattle for the entire country. Kentucky’s farming economy brings in more than 45 billion dollars a year.”

Most people are not aware of these numbers and just how much of an impact farming and agriculture play in today’s world. With the global pandemic, the farmers didn’t get a leave of absence. They had to work every single day, sun up to sun down, making personal sacrifices and sacrifices for their families. COVID did, however, open the eyes of the consumers. With the shut-downs of many restaurants, people were forced to cook at home more than they were used to. People all of a sudden wanted to know where their food was coming from, how it was grown, where it was raised, what’s in it, what farm it came from, etc. For those not familiar with farming, it is not for the faint of heart. Farming is more than just an income, it is a way of life.

Kentucky is well known for bourbon and horses, and now wheat production and batter. Hopkins County is home to a major agricultural community, the farmers just need to tell their story more. There is a bright future in agriculture as some of the best farmers are in Kentucky.

The awards presented were for five different categories, in recognition of Unselfish and Tireless Service to the Entire Agricultural Community.

2021 Environmentalist of the Year, presented to Mahr Park Arboretum.

2021 Farm City Educator of the Year, presented to April Duncan of Madisonville Community College.

2021 Danny Peyton Friend of Agriculture Award, presented to Hopkins County Farm Bureau.

2021 Farm City Agriculture Innovation Award, presented to Three Rivers Farm.

2021 Farm City Farm of the Year, which was presented to Putty Farms.

The 2021 Farm City Farm of the Year is judged on a set of eight different criteria,

1. The farmer must live in Hopkins County

2. Must have ten years or more of farming

3. Must be a good producer

4. Must be financially stable

5. Must have a good standing reputation in the community

6. Must serve as a role model within the community

7. Must be active in farming activities

8. Must be displaying modern farming practices

Proud and humbled to receive this award, Don Putty, of Putty Farms, shared the most critical part of understanding farming is the profit margin that you are operating with. “You need to keep growing. If you are not growing you are going backwards. Farming becomes part of who you are. Farming is the most rewarding job there is.”

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