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Bennett named 'Farmer of the Year'

By Walt Reichert/Sentinel-News Editor

For the first time since its inception, the
Shelby County "Farmer of the Year" title went to a horse farmer.

Edward "Hoppy" Bennett, owner of Undulata Farm, a Saddlebred breeding and training operation, received the award at the annual Farm City banquet Tuesday.

Cooperative Extension Agent for Agriculture Brittany Edelson said horse farmers in the county "is one sector that merges the city with farmers."


"They are individuals who open arms up to city folks all of the time," Edelson said.

Shelby County Tourism Director Charlie Kramer told the approximately 250 gathered for the event that Bennett has gone out of his way to serve as host for the thousands of tourists who come to the county every year wanting to tour a horse farm.

"When I call and ask if we can come out, his answer is always 'bring 'em on,'" Kramer said. "When I ask if he minds if he brings yet another group he always says 'I'd mind if you didn't.'"

Kramer said he had taken tours to Bennett's farm 87 times, with a total of 2,000 people, in 2005.

Farm City banquet, sponsored by the Shelbyville Kiwanis Club, is the oldest such event in the U.S. The banquet, always on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, marks the inter-relationships between city dwellers and farmers. The event is also a fundraiser for Kiwanis, which uses the money raised for scholarships. Last year the event raised about $5,000.

The Farmer of the Year award has been designated since 1995 and has included tobacco farmers Paul Hornback and Doug Langley, dairy farmers Gil Tucker, the Case family and the Kalmey family, grain farmers Phillip McCoun, Worth and Dee Ellis Farm, and Jack Trumbo, Gallrein Farms, Veterinarian Jack Kimbrough and cattle breeder David Neville.

But Edelson pointed out the value of horses to Shelby County, noting that the county's 700 horse farms contributed over $3.6 million in sales of horses and ponies to the economy, according to the 2002 Census, while the Shelbyville Horse Show brings in more than $2 million every August.

"And that does not include farriers, feed stores, hay and supplies," Edelson said.

A survey of horse farms conducted by Maintain Our Rural Environment (MORE) suggested that the value of horses to the county's economy is about $20 million per year.

The guest speaker at this year's
Farm City banquet was Rick Whobrey, director of organization for the Kentucky Farm Bureau.


Copyright (c) 2006 The Sentinel-News  All Rights Reserved.

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