[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Global animal health and nutrition company Alltech has announced the five winners in its Favorite Farmer contest. Three Kentucky farmers, one Ohio producer and one Tennessee rancher received the most votes for their personal nomination stories in the social media competition. The winners, along with those who nominated them, will receive free registration and a $1,000 travel stipend to attend ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, May 22–25, in Lexington, Kentucky.
The nominees who received the most likes in the Alltech Facebook competition include: Prem Durham, Anchorage, Kentucky; Chris Riggs, Jessamine County, Kentucky; Bob Wade, Sonora, Kentucky; Steve McFalls, Caledonia, Ohio; and Ben Neale, Warren and Giles counties, Tennessee. The contest, open to producers from across the United States, asked that each nomination include a photo and an entry detailing a favorite farmer. Voting took place on Alltech’s Facebook page from March 28 to April 4, with the five entries that received the most likes declared the winners.
Durham owns Lakshmi Farms, a small sustainable operation that raises dairy cows, chickens, sheep, donkeys, horses and a small acre of land for growing vegetables and flowers. Originally from Northern California, Durham started a farmer’s market in Anchorage, actively contributes to farm-based food education programs such as The Food Literacy Project and initiated an on-site garden in the local school curriculum. Recently, Durham started a Farm Incubator Program, where she provides the resources (land, water, tools and community participation) to young farmers in their first years of farming. Durham was nominated by her friend, Leigh Ann VanDam.
Riggs was recommended by his girlfriend, Stephanie Moses, for the Favorite Farmer contest. Riggs Farm grows approximately 100 acres of corn and soybeans, along with a few hundred acres of hay and alfalfa. In addition to his own farm, Riggs custom hay bales and harvests a few more hundred acres each year. According to Moses, after spending “countless hours farming alongside his grandfather and soaking up all of his knowledge,” Riggs has shown dedication, hard work and perseverance in his work and is eager to share his love of farming with others.
Wade owns Back Forty Farms, a corn and soybean operation near Sonora, Kentucky. His wife, Jill Wade, submitted her husband’s story for the contest because he is “genuinely fascinated by growing plants and the network of soils, seeds, machinery and people that it takes to produce a crop.” Wade often shares that passion with the local schools and community and invites Habitat for Humanity groups from Chicago and New York to visit his farm to learn more about crop production.
A former jeweler, McFalls was nominated by his wife Julia. After 16 brain surgeries, McFalls quit the jewelery business and took up farming instead. Starting part-time and then leasing the same land three years later, the Ohio farmer now successfully grows organic hay and haylage while running an all-natural beef operation on his Laughing Hills Stock Farm.
Nominated by his wife Lauren, Neale raises beef cattle, sheep and honey bees across two counties in Tennessee. A first-generation farmer, Neale also spends countless hours volunteering to help county cattlemen’s associations with herd management and mentors young farmers and ranchers in Tennessee and across the county. Previously, he served as the chairman of the Young Producers Council for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Neale also represented the United States in the Five Nations Beef Alliance group, which brought together young cattle producers from across the world to strategize how to work together across borders.
Registration is open now for ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, from May 22–25. The annual international conference draws nearly 2,000 attendees from more than 69 countries to network and discuss world-changing ideas. Conference registration is $1,095. For more information or to register, visit one.alltech.com. Join the conversation online with #ONEBigIdea.
Prem Durham, Anchorage, Kentucky, was a winner in Alltech’s Favorite Farmer social media competition. Durham was nominated by her friend, Leigh Ann VanDam.