2017 KCA Convention: Agenda, Trade Show Map, Convention Center & Hotel Map

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Trade Show Map

Convention Center & Hotel Map


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2017 KCA Convention: Event Highlights and Need-to-Knows

The January issue of The Kentucky Cattleman, KCA’s official newsletter, highlights everything you need to know about the 2017 Convention and Ag Industry Trade Show in Lexington, KY before you get there! View the Convention newsletter here:

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More Than A Farmer’s Wife – Sarah Jones

Being a girl was never an excuse I could use to get out of farm chores growing up. I was raised on a 6th generation cattle ranch in California alongside my two older brothers, and although the only daughter and the baby of the family, I was still expected to buck hay bales, brand cattle, and fix fence. Weekends with friends were sacrificed during calving season, manicures and spa days were few and far between. While my older brothers and dad are the skilled mechanics and equipment operators on the ranch, it is my mother and I that managed the majority of the livestock. Being female never made us any less instrumental to the ranch operation, and the boys would never even dream of telling us that our place as a woman belonged in the kitchen (although we can both cook up a mean steak). 

​Too often I feel that the term “farmer” or “rancher” is synonymous with “male.” Since long before the days of wagon wheels and horse drawn plows, women have been a backbone to the agriculture industry. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) the average age of a Kentucky farmer is 58-years-old and a strong majority are male; however, female farmers across the state continue to be an integral part of the industry in production and beyond.

On a visit to southern Kentucky-Tennessee, I met Sarah Jones, a daughter, wife, mother, and I can assure you, just as much of a farmer as anyone that I have ever met, and much more.


Sarah and Bart in front of original Red Hill Farms homestead

Preparation of barn for annual March bull and female sale
Sarah, her husband Bart, and their nine-year-old son Ty farm in Macon County, Tennessee and southern Kentucky across Allen, Warren, and Monroe Counties. They raise seed stock cattle, burley tobacco, purebred hogs, and row crops to support their livestock operations. 

​Even though they were busy preparing for their annual bull and female sale, Sarah was kind enough to show us around the farm and share her story.



I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.

Sarah was raised on a dairy farm and growing up her responsibility was caring for the calves. Although she was raised on a farm, her parents wanted to give her the opportunity to have a future outside of the industry. Sarah hasn’t always worn boots to work. She worked in Nashville as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for years, but ultimately realized that tax season, managing farm responsibilities, and being a mom all at once was too much. With her CPA expertise, Sarah manages the office side of the farming business such as financials, record keeping, advertising, and marketing. Although, don’t let that fool you into thinking she works at a desk all day. She monitors the heifer barns at night, chops silage, rolls hay, and as the only certified Artificial Insemination (AI) Technician on the farm she is responsible for breeding livestock.
“If he wasn’t at school today, Ty would have loved to give you the farm tour himself,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Bart were both raised around agriculture and feel very fortunate that their son gets to have the same experience. She emphasized that they support Ty no matter what he wants to do in the future, farming or not. At just 9-years-old, Ty has a lamb project, shows pigs, owns his own cattle, plays soccer and basketball, has traveled across the U.S. and already has goals to introduce new breeds of livestock to the farm.

Ty and his lamb project

Bart and Ty with a litter of piglets
Sarah and I shared and reminisced about how there is something special about being raised on a farm. Farm kids learn lessons at a young age that most people don’t. They learn the meaning of sacrifice, knowing that there is a time to work and a time to play. They learn respect, not only for nature’s resources, but also for people and personal relationships.

“Chances are we won’t have to have the sex discussion with Ty,” Sarah laughed. Living on a farm and raising livestock teaches kids about reproduction, about birthing, and about death. They learn to appreciate the lifecycle. It teaches the responsibility of caring for something other than yourself – like making sure the animals are fed before you are, whether sunshine or blizzard. A farm kid learns to be goal oriented and to be driven by passion and not by greed. They learn the definition of hard work but also learn that farming is a labor of love, and it is that which makes a farmer a farmer.


As I spoke with Sarah standing out in the cattle pasture, I couldn’t help but wish that every person got to know a farmer like this. With every question I asked, she answered thoughtfully and sincerely, her love for her farm and family apparent in every sentence she spoke. She has an open and brilliant mind, not only constantly looking for opportunities to improve their farming operation, but also ensuring that the end product of their farm – food— is the safest and most nutritious it can be. She encourages consumers to reach out to farmers to ask their questions rather than getting misinformation on the internet.  The same beef and pork that they raise on their farm for consumers is the same food that she feeds her family. When asked what her favorite cut of beef is she said, “I’m a steak person, sirloin or filet cooked medium rare.”

Sarah’s passion for agriculture radiates from her as she talked about farming. “Along with passion, there is a lot of pride,” she said. Being a steward of the land, turning God-given resources into something, and watching her family learn and grow together makes her proud at the end of the day. For her, “It’s not about getting bigger, but making things better.“ With every day there is a new challenge and at times she admits it feels like a lot to handle. Many people wouldn’t do what they do, what farmers do, working long hours year round to grow food for the world. It is passion that keeps them going, and the world should applaud them for the hard work that they do day in and day out. We should all be thankful for farmers, farmers like Sarah.



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KCA Saddened by loss of Historical Blue Grass Stockyards

January 31, 2016

Lexington, KY – The fire yesterday at Blue Grass Stockyards in Lexington destroyed a large piece of Kentucky cattle industry history and we are saddened to hear that it was a total loss. The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) is proud to represent over 38,000 beef producers in the state and will do anything necessary to help Blue Grass Stockyards and our producers in the coming days, weeks and months.

“We consider the owners and staff at Blue Grass Stockyards friends,” stated Dave Maples, KCA Executive Vice President, “Because of that we are very grateful that no one was hurt in the fire.”

Farmers work hard every single day of the year to take great care of their livestock, so it saddens us all to know that 20 head of cattle perished in the fire. However, we are also grateful that it didn’t happen on another day when the market could hold hundreds or thousands of cattle, as well as many of our producers.

Blue Grass Stockyards in Lexington is a big piece of cattle history in Kentucky and provides a huge economic benefit to our producers and local economy. Over 100,000 head were sold in 2015 at an economic value of over $120 million. The facility was celebrating 70 years and is well known in the area.

“I think everyone is shocked right now, but I know that our industry will pull together to help the crew at Blue Grass Stockyards in anything they need moving forward,” stated KCA President David Lemaster

While the owners and managers aren’t sure what will happen to that facility going forward, we hope that they can rebuild. In the meantime, Central Kentucky has several other facilities that remain open and can provide producers a way to market their cattle. Blue Grass Stockyards has already provided options to producers that were planning to sell in Lexington this week. They will sell at Mt. Sterling on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Stanford on Monday and Thursday. Cattle will be received on Sunday in both locations.

KCA will continue to keep you updated as things develop. Be sure to visit our website at or follow us on Facebook for up-to-date news.

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is the largest cattle producing state east of the Mississippi River and home to over 1.1 million beef cows. KCA is a grassroots organization with 99 chapters in 120 counties and works to protect, advance and be a strong voice for the state’s 38,000 cattle producers

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KCA Convention

2016 KCA Convention
January 15-16, 2016
Owensboro Convention Center
501 W 2nd St, Owensboro, KY 42301

Hotel Information:

* Hampton Inn – Waterfront
401 W 2nd Street

* Holiday Inn- Riverfront
701 W 1st Street

Hampton Inn – South
615 Salem Drive

Courtyard Owensboro
3120 Highland Pointe Dr.

Convention Program:

View Here

Trade Show Map & Vendors:

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Kentucky’s Cattle Farmers are Getting Older

Kentucky is the largest producing cattle industry east of the Mississippi River. Those cattle farmers, however, are getting older. According to a recent survey by The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association the average cattle producer in the Commonwealth is 62-years-old.

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is a membership organization that represents Kentucky cattle producers. Becky Thompson works with the association and is the director of the Kentucky Beef Network. She says this is an issue for future cattle production in the state.

“There’s a large group of farmers right now, that have been in there for years and you know it’s something that has been declining as we have progressed in the industry.” Thompson said.

Thompson says access to land and capital are the biggest hurdles for young farmers looking to produce. She says making agriculture production more attractive by letting younger farmers know there is a place for them in the industry is key to making sure cattle continues to thrive in the Commonwealth.

“I know Farm Credit has made a big internal push in the last year to actively invest in young and beginning farmers, where they haven’t in the past. So a lot of the agencies are looking into this and taking it on as a special interest.” Thompson said.

Kentucky is ranked 5th nationally in beef cattle production with approximately 1.1 million cattle in the state.



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Farmers wonder how low calf prices will go

Cattle producers have benefitted from high calf and feeder prices in the not too distant past. More recently, however, cattle markets appear to be weakening, and farmers are wondering just how low the prices could go.

“I don’t think many cattlemen and women are surprised that the cattle market has softened,” said Kenny Burdine, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment livestock marketing specialist. “But, I do think that many have been surprised at how quickly things have changed and how much lower prices have gone. Calf markets usually reach seasonal lows in October or November.”

The U.S. beef herd continues to expand, and Burdine said that plays a part in the current markets, although not a huge part. The growth in beef cow inventory hasn’t really had time to impact beef production yet. The cattle market is dealing with a growing supply of fed cattle and a significant increase in slaughter weights. These factors are working to increase beef production. At the same time, production of both pork and chicken has increased, which is applying additional pressure.

Beef cow slaughter continues to run below last year’s levels and most indications are that heifer retention continues. Long run calf prices typically continue dropping as the size of the beef cow herd grows. Burdine said this is all part of a typical cattle cycle where cattle numbers reach a sufficient level to pressure prices enough that producers respond by scaling back, selling more heifers instead of breeding them. Eventually liquidation causes prices to improve, producers once again expand the herd, and the prices begin to trend upward for a few years.

“It will be interesting to see how much impact the lower calf prices have on the pace of expansion this fall,” Burdine said. “Even though calf prices have softened, they remain profitable for most cow-calf producers.”

While the recent drop in prices may slow the pace of expansion, Burdine quickly pointed out that most producers are still likely to sell calves this fall on a very strong market by historical standards.

“The largest impact from lower calf prices may be what is paid for bred heifers this fall, as those prices tend to move together,” he said. “But the big picture message is the calf price environment is changing, and producers need to be thinking about managing their operations in a decreasing price market over the next several years. As we continue to grow the calf herd, we will also likely continue to see lower calf prices until the incentive to expand is no longer there.”

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Recipients Named For Animal Shelter Assistance Program

Lexington, KY – August 4, 2015– The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation on Tuesday, announced the six winners of the Animal Shelter Assistance program totaling $5,000.

The Animal Shelter Assistance program is in its fifth year and was funded by the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation. Foundation Chairman,
Harvey Mitchell recognizes the important role animal shelters serve in our communities and encourages everyone to get involved at the local level. “Find out who your local shelter is and how you can help,” stated Mitchell. “All cattlemen understand the need to take care of our animals and it is nice to support others who are doing the same thing.”

The winners of the grants were presented this week to shelters around the state. Winners include:

Clark County Animal Shelter, Winchester, KY – $1500 will be used to repair older kennels to make a safer environment for the dogs.

Lincoln County Animal Shelter, Stanford, KY – $1000 will be used to purchase pet crates along with other items to keep areas of the shelter clean.

Mercer County Animal Shelter, Harrodsburg, KY – $500 will be used to purchase dog beds for animal comfort.

Humane Society of Nelson County, Bardstown, KY – $500 will go toward the costs to spay and neuter dogs and cats kept at the shelter.

Shelby County Animal Shelter, Shelbyville, KY – $1000 will be used for a grooming tub to help clean the animals more efficiently.

Wolfe County Animal Shelter, Hazel Green, KY – $500 will go toward the costs to spay and neuter dogs and cats kept at the shelter.

The Animal Shelter Assistance program received over 20 applications from across the state and plans to continue the program in the

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation mission is to pursue opportunities that promote the profitability of the cattle industry in Kentucky
through educational and philanthropic endeavors. For more information visit or call 859-278-0899.

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Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium

The Kentucky Beef Network is pleased to announce an educational opportunity for (5) Kentucky high school students. This program is a joint venture with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and their Youth Beef Leadership Symposium. The dates for this program are November 20-22, 2015 and will be held at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln campus.

We are now accepting applications for this program. Students must be high school juniors or seniors. They should have a desire for continuing their education and a strong interest to learn more about the beef cattle industry.

Registration fee, air transportation, meals and lodging costs will be funded through the Kentucky Beef Network grant from the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund. Adult chaperone(s) will be traveling with the students.

Applications must be postmarked by September 1, 2015. Finalists will be notified to participate in a personal interview. Interviews will take place at the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association office in Lexington.

If scheduling allows participants will visit a feedlot packing plant and feed mill tours in Nebraska ahead of the conference.

Applications can be found on our website at under the NYBLS tab.
If you have questions please contact the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association at 859-278-0899 or

Send applications to the following address:

Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association


176 Pasadena Drive

Lexington, KY 40503

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KCA Membership Incentives

Membership in the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is open to any individual or organization that has an interest in the cattle industry of Kentucky. KCA’s funding is generated partly by voluntary dues paid by the over 9,700 members belonging to KCA. There are 99 Cattlemen’s Association Chapters that represent beef producers across the state and serve as a link between local associations and KCA.

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is partnering with McBurney Livestock Equipment to award one lucky KCA member with an EASY WAY Cattle Saver. The winner will be announced in August.

By joining or renewing your membership before July 31, 2015 you are automatically entered in to win an EASY WAY Cattle Saver sponsored by McBurney Livestock Equipment. This EASY WAY face fly fighter, mineral feeder and cattle scratcher, aids in the control of face and horn flies, mosquitoes, lice and other pests.

In addition, every KCA member who also joins the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Cabela’s gift card.

Now is the time to join or renew your membership! Join online, by phone or by mail and be a part of this wonderful incentive!

For more information contact Nikki Whitaker, KCA Membership Coordinator
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