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Evan Tate Worries the Loss Of Farm Land to Solar Panels

Justin Obenchain, President of the Hancock County Farm Bureau presented Ryan Boswell as the Soybean Yield winner at the Chamber Farm City dinner Monday night.

The Annual Hancock County Farm City and Agriculture Awards Dinner was held at the Hawesville Baptist Church Life Center on Monday, February 19th, and sponsored by the HC Chamber of Commerce, with HCHS Future Farmers of America students attending and serving the beverages to the crowd of over 287 people this year.

Agriculture Person of the Year Award

Ellis Russelburg was presented with the Ag Person of the Year Award. His farm is located south of Hawesville near Mt. Eden Church. “The first year I farmed here was in 1976 and then I purchased the farm in 1977,” he said. “I’ve been blessed and I give thanks every night. I got to do in life what I wanted to.”

Ellis will be 77 next month and is retiring after almost 50 years of soybean, corn and cattle farming. He worked at the paper mill for 10 years in the beginning, he said, to get secured financially. He and his wife, Sharon, are members of Immaculate Conception Church. He served on the Soil Conservation Board for 28 years, as well as the Farm Bureau Board, and the HC Fair Board for many years.

Ag Contest

HC Ag Natural Resources Ext. Agent Evan Tate announced the winners of the HC Ag Advancement Council Contest. The Boswell Family Farm won the soybean competition for the third year in a row with an 85 bushel plot. The Johnson Family Farm was awarded in the corn competition, with a yield of 231 bushels.

Scholarship Awards

The Chamber Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Kendall White, a student at UK double majoring in Integrated Strategic Communication and Management with a minor in Business Analytics. The Ag Scholarship was awarded to Olivia Hendry, who is in the Vet Tech program at OCTC.

Solar

Tate spoke on solar saying, “It has been a point of contention in agriculture for a little while. There’s a lot of solar farms going in. They’re occupying a lot of good, productive farmland. I’m really proud of the farmers of Hancock County, as long as it is done in a way that doesn’t cost us productive farmland. You will start to notice, and there are some systems already put in, we’re actually using the rooftops of farm facilities now to lower the energy dependence of local farms by solar without losing any farmland.

We’ve lost zero acres so far when we put in solar systems working with the U.S. Department of Ag and the KY Ag Finance Program. We’re working with all of those programs to have systems installed without loss of seeding ground and putting forethought into the future to produce food for years to come. I really appreciate not only the farmers, but the Judge-Exec., Fiscal Court, Mike Baker and others, for their forethought on this project and their guidance. It’s a great opportunity for farmers going forward.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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