When emcee Barry Bernson adjourned the Nov. 9 Farm-City Luncheon, it marked the close of another successful program year for the Agribusiness Industry Network.
The 2012 version of the luncheon, under the always capable tutelage of Linda Brock, was one of our best. Food was great, attendance was hefty and the Wing-Tip Rodeo was exciting as usual.
And as you can read elsewhere in this newsletter, the newest Agribusiness of the Year, Whayne Supply Co., was another in a long line of very worthy honorees for our signature award.
The Louisville-based marketer of farm and industrial machinery started as a small shop selling bicycles and wheelbarrows. Now 100 years later, it's one of the area's largest agribusinesses with dealerships across Kentucky and southern Indiana.
As Whayne's management and employees prepare to celebrate the company's centennial year, we congratulate President Monty Boyd and his management team, including John Danesi and Breese Watson, and wish them continued success as they enter their second hundred years of business.
We also accorded recognition to retiring Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman during the lunch, presenting a contribution to a new scholarship fund being set up in Harold's name at the University of Kentucky.
During Harold's tenure as Fair Board chief executive, he has overseen incredible growth and expansion in both the expo center and the downtown convention center. He has also played a key role for the Agribusiness Industry Network, serving as its chair for several years and hosting our meetings and events.
Perhaps the most unique item on the Farm-City Luncheon agenda was a plaque presentation to Major Brent Hulse with the Kentucky Army National Guard in recognition of the organization's efforts to improve the lot of family farmers in Afghanistan.
A total of five Agribusiness Development Teams have been dispatched from Kentucky to Afghanistan over the past several years with the mission of helping subsistence farmers in that war-torn nation.
Major Hulse said that despite the fact that nearly half of that country's gross domestic product comes from agriculture, the typical farmer there still uses oxen and wooden plows to till the soil on space that averages two to three acres per family.
Major Hulse was a member of the first of the teams to be deployed to the Afghan countryside. Team 5, consisting of 39 Kentucky National Guard members, is there now, continuing the work to help the "locals" become self-sufficient and develop a viable farm marketplace.
Thanks to all the AIN members and Executive Committee for their work and participation in this year's slate of activities. Planning is under way for a similar round of events in 2013 and they will be announced in future issues of this newsletter.
Gary Huddleston | AIN Chairman