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Ryan and Misty Bivens had no roots in Hodgenville when they began farming there in 2002.
They have had plenty of well-wishers 10 years later.
The couple and their two children, Cyrus, 4, and Avery, 1, have been named a finalist for the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 2012 Outstanding Young Farm Family contest.
The organization presents the award annually to a couple younger than 35 who have shown strong farm management skills, consistent financial growth and involvement in Farm Bureau and the community.
Misty Bivens said neighbors have been wishing them well ever since the news was announced.
Those sentiments have special meaning, considering that the family members knew few people when they began farming in the area.
“When you get that sense of community behind you, you know you’ve made this your home and others have accepted you as part of that community,” she said.
Their farm now consists of 5,753 acres of land where the family raises beef cattle, corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and grass hay.
Ryan and Misty Bivens have both served on the LaRue County Farm Bureau board in multiple roles.
They also volunteer with various organizations and compete in state and national Farm Bureau contests.
Misty Bivens is most proud of The couple’s sense of teamwork. They discuss all major decisions about the farm, even though she still teaches full-time.
That’s important with any business that has more than another leader, she said.
She said her children also have become important parts of the farm, digging in the dirt and riding combines and tractors.
“They are very typical farm kids,” she said. “If their daddy’s doing something, they think they should be doing it, too.”
Judges plan to visit the finalist families this week to conduct interviews and see the farms in action.
The Bivens family is among three finalist families that include one in Christian County and one in Mercer County.
Winners will be announced Dec. 7 at the Farm Bureau’s annual state meeting in Louisville.
The winning family receives a Case IH Scout, an Apple iPad 2, $1,000 cash, $750 in Dyno-Gro seed vouchers, a $500 voucher from Southern States Cooperative, a portable handgun safe and a voucher for 16 bags of seed corn.
The winners also will receive an expense-paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national young farmer contest in January in Nashville. The national winners can choose a 2013 Chevrolet or a 2013 GMC Sierra truck.
Each of the three national runners up will receive a Case IH Farmall 65A tractor.
Misty Bivens said her family applied for the honor to show the difference hard work and partnerships in the community has made in their lives and to their business.
“It’s as much about the good relationships we’ve built with people as it is about winning a new truck,” she said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or email@example.com. Stories from the Heartland appears Mondays in The News-Enterprise.