Outside the Gate

As agriculturalists, it is our duty to protect and preserve our family business….our way of life, the way of life of our siblings, and fellow farmers who feed all of us. One way we try to do this is to constantly challenge ourselves to be Ambassadors of our industry, near and far. We view it as a responsibility to refine our leadership, community involvement, and utilizing community resources to enhance our industry and become a voice for agriculture. The food and fiber industry in America is very dynamic and it is our honor and responsibility to do what we can to encourage public education and understanding of what we do. You are apart of that! Farmers would not have a purpose without consumers. With each day, consumers’ desire to understand where their food comes from, and how it is raised is ever more important.

Shane is a member of Class IV of the Kentucky Ag Leadership Program. Shane went to New Zealand with the program in January of 2011. KALP is vital to the future of agriculture – it’s preparing today and tomorrow’s leaders, from all segments of KY’s agriculture, to work together to make a secure future. Learn more about KALP. We are so grateful others invested in helping him become a strong leader; our farm and family are stronger because of that experience. 

Shane & Mary serve as Directors to the Shelby County Kentucky Farm Bureau Board. Farm Bureau is the voice of Kentucky’s Agriculture. Farm Bureau is well-known for the insurance they provide, but more importantly they are our largest advocate and protector as a farm family. It is their main focus to help support the long-term viability of farm families. Currently our industry is faced with a declining number of farmers and farm land be able to feed growing populations with more focus on environmental concerns, awareness of stewardship and food safety, while trying to adapt to challenging policies that are often created without the practicalities of agriculture in mind. They are both active in the Young Farmer Farm Bureau link programs to network and exchange knowledge and ideas with other young farm families. One of the most important activities of our county and state Farm Bureaus is their involvement in policies effecting the ability farmers have to farm. In February Shane traveled with three other Shelby County farmers to meet with our government officials to discuss relevant topics facing the growing and consuming of food. It used to be where a farmer could “stay on the farm” and farm; now it is essential that farmers of go beyond their “farm gate” and be proactive about the vitality of our profession. (pic of congressional tour)

Shane serves on the Shelby County Fair Board. His work helps folks from the city and country alike, to appreciate the fun and celebration of showing cattle, rabbits, canning, tractor pulling, and admiration of who raised the biggest pumpkin!

Mary both serve on the Shelby County District Extension Board.(link) This group secures input in the support and direction of our local Cooperative Extension programs. We help identify issues and community needs pertaining to the Agriculture and Natural Resources, family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development and Community and Economic Development of our county. We value the input and service of our Extension Service very high; we apply their knowledge daily on our working farm, in efforts to make sound decisions. We can give back to the community and help ensure 

Mary has recently joined the efforts of CommonGround. It is a national grassroots effort dedicated to creating genuine conversations about today’s farming and food, and empowering producers to impact consumer attitudes, rather than lots of misconceptions. One thing that makes America’s people unique is that we have choices….with that, proper knowledge is powerful. As an ambassador for farmers, I encourage folks to have an open dialogue about food production. CommonGround is allowing a platform for all areas of agriculture to speak with a unified approach and shared message to tell consumers about agriculture. Learn more about CommonGround.

Mary has worked very closely with Louisville’s Farm to Table program and their coordinator, Sarah Fritschner. Sarah works to help pair up farmers, such as ourselves, with consumers to enjoy in their homes, schools, workplaces, and restaurants within the Louisville area. Since the beginning of our efforts to raise produce for others, Sarah’s work has been instrumental in helping us connect with folks who appreciate and enjoy what we do here at the farm. Working with the Farm to Table program has allowed us to speak on the importance of re-connecting with your food and the farmers that provide it. The grant that funds Sarah’s role, Kentucky Agricultural Development Board and Wired65, recognizes the need for us to successfully focus on diversifying our farming operation and how important it is to encourage others to be proactive in supporting their farming community.