Louisville, KY (October 5, 2015) – Preliminary judging for the 2015 Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) “Outstanding Young Farm Family” competition is complete and three finalists have been named for this prestigious honor: Brad and Karen Hines of Hart County, Scott and Shea Lowe of Calloway County, and Wesley and Jennifer Poole of Daviess County.
The “Outstanding Young Farm Family” competition annually recognizes an individual or couple under age 35 who has exhibited the strongest farm management skills, most consistent financial growth and highest level of involvement in both Farm Bureau and their community.
Brad & Karen Hines
Growing up on his family’s dairy and tobacco farm in Hart County, Brad Hines worked as a diesel technician at Jacobi Sales and ran his own diesel truck and farm equipment repair business after graduating college. Knowing he wanted to return to his agricultural roots full-time, Hines purchased his first 113-acre farm at an auction in 2005. Today he manages a 1,350-acre operation where he raises beef cattle and grows alfalfa, corn, soybean, tobacco and wheat. His wife, Karen, who was also raised on a farm and actively involved in FFA, 4-H and livestock clubs throughout her youth, works as a nurse at a regional hospital in addition to assisting with the farm’s management and office work. In addition to farming their own land, Brad has also created additional income over the years through his diesel repair business and by providing custom planting and harvesting services on approximately 500 acres of land belonging to neighboring farmers. As the couple also continues to learn and implement more effective agriculture management practices, employ single-season calving and new breeding techniques for their cattle, and gain newer and larger facilities and equipment, their productivity has steadily increased each year.
Brad and Karen have both been members of Hart County Farm Bureau since 2001, are active members of the County, Kentucky and National Cattlemen Associations and participate in many other local industry and community-focused activities.
Scott & Shea Lowe
Scott Lowe is a first-generation farmer who took his boyhood fascination with farming and turned it into a reality. Leasing his first two acres of land from a neighbor in 2000, he split a crop of dark-fired tobacco 50/50 with that neighbor and used the profits to begin his journey into the world of farming. Newly married to Shea, also a first-generation farmer, and partnering with her to make a bigger commitment to farming as a family, they launched Lowe Farms in 2002. Through incremental expansion of crop acreage and the acquisition of additional equipment and barns, Scott’s dream of becoming a full-time farmer came true. Upon graduation, he began pursuing this reality on his own land. Today the Lowes operate on an 845-acre farm, growing corn, soybeans and dark-fired tobacco, and tend a small herd of beef cattle. Over the past several years they have also implemented several new farming practices, added various pieces of equipment and installed facilities to assist with cost efficiencies, improve conservation efforts and expand their employee base.
Scott and Shea are both active on the Calloway County Farm Bureau board of directors where Scott serves as the Chair of its Young Farmer Committee. They have both served on KFB’s state Young Farmer Committee, Scott as its Vice Chair, and he is currently a member of KFB’s Dark Tobacco Advisory Committee. The Lowes also regularly contribute their time in leadership roles to several other industry- and community-focused groups.
Wesley & Jennifer Poole
Beginning with just 20 acres and a small home right after high school, Wesley Poole, and now his wife, Jennifer, have worked diligently over the past 11 years to build their Daviess County farm into its current 625-acre size. Working mostly independently, Wesley has expanded the farm to grow corn, soybeans and tobacco as well as raise cattle and a large number of turkeys. The couple has continued to increase their on-farm efficiencies by utilizing land that wasn’t suitable for crops as space for new turkey housing. Additional structures – tobacco barns, an equipment storage shed, workshop and a bunkhouse for hired laborers – and other equipment acquisitions have also been acquired to increase efficiencies and keep costs low.
The Pooles are active members of the Daviess County Farm Bureau and Kentucky Young Farmer Association.
Judges visited the three finalists in mid-September to conduct interviews and review the farms in person. Results from the “Outstanding Young Farm Family” will be announced during KFB’s 2015 state annual meeting in Louisville on December 4.
In addition to receiving statewide recognition as the 2015 “Outstanding Young Farm Family,” the winner will receive a Case IH Scout courtesy of KFB Insurance and Case IH, an Apple iPad from Republic Bank & Trust, $1,000 cash from Premier Crop Insurance, a $750 Dyna-Gro seed voucher from Crop Production Services, a $500 voucher from Southern States Cooperative, and a voucher for 12 bags of seed corn from Pioneer Seed.
The “Outstanding Young Farm Family” will also receive an expense-paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) national young farmer contest in Orlando, FL, in January 2016. Winners of the national contest will have their choice of either a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado or a 2016 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM, and paid registration to AFBF’s 2016 Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Conference in Kansas City, MO, in February 2016. Each of the three national runners up will receive a Case IH Farmall tractor from CASE IH, a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.