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Kerby Grey: Young farmer of the year

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By Becca Owsley

Kerby Grey has been farming in Cecilia most of his life. He recently was recognized as Kentucky Young Farmer Member of the Year.

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He started farming when he graduated high school, but even before that he always worked on a farm. When he was “big enough to work in tobacco,” he was big enough to work on a farm, he said.

Today, his nephews and brother also work on the farm. His dad helps when he can.

He’s farming about 2,100 acres this year.

With a career in farming, he can be outside and be his own boss. Growing up on the farm has created a passion for it.

“You get to do the things you love to do,” he said.

Mentorship is important to young farmers, he said.

“I’ve learned several things from my grandfather, father and local farmers” he said. “If you’ll listen to them, you’ll learn a lot.”

Grey has been with the Hardin County Young Farmers since 1990. They are active in educating each other and the community about agriculture issues from crop production to welding. They meet every Wednesday night from November until spring, when it’s time to get out in the fields.

Through one of the group’s educational initiatives Grey learned techniques to help a farmer escape from entrapment in a grain bin. That training came in handy last spring when Grey helped rescue a neighboring farmer when the man was trapped in a grain bin. Grey is glad he had the knowledge to help but doesn’t want to have to do anything like that again any time soon, he said.

He’s also a part of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Young Farmers, which plans to provide training for farmers and emergency personnel about farm safety and rescue and provide equipment for local fire departments.

The Young Farmer Member of the Year recognition came through his involvement with Hardin County Young Farmers.

As a part of his reward he gets to use a Challenger tractor for 200 engine hours with the option to purchase it later with a GPS and automatic steering bonus. It has an air-ride cab and is completely computer integrated.

“It has more gizmos than I know what to do with,” he said, adding it rides like a Cadillac.

The tractor and most new farming machines are very precise, which allows farmers to use fewer chemicals than some people use in their gardens, Grey said. The equipment precisely distributes chemicals.

The award is based in everything he’s done in his farming career, going back about seven years. His application included details about barns he built on the farm, grain bins, crops produced, expansions and improvements to his home and property.

The selection committee also looks at debt records and ownership of equipment or property. They look at anything to do with his farming practice, he said.

He remembers at least three others from Hardin County receiving the award during their youth including Jimmy Goldsmith, Larry Thomas and Dennis Parrett.

A farmer has to be 40 or younger to qualify for the recognition. Grey received the award in his last year of eligibility.

Other Hardin County Young Farmers state winners:

  • Ag. Mechanics Proficiency Contest, Drew Langley, third place
  • Farm Management Contest, Josh Seagraves, first place and Nathan Highbaugh, tied for second place
  • Rural Leadership Award, Mark Thomas, second place
  • Wheat Production, Patrick Preston, first place
  • White Corn Production, Phillip Rogers, first place
  • Diversified Crop Production, Mark Thomas, second place 

Getting to know Kerby Grey:

  • Pets: A dog named Bella
  • Hobbies: Traveling, he’s been to Hawaii and Las Vegas recently; and he likes riding a four-wheeler
  • Favorite Sports Team: Kentucky Wildcats
  • Favorite TV show: “Justified”
  • Favorite Music: Country
  • Favorite spot on the farm: A hammock between two trees

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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