The Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA) recognized its three award winners at the Kentucky Commodity Conference Awards Banquet held Thursday night in Bowling Green.
KSA is a grassroots organization that represents members from across the Commonwealth in the area of policy. Keeping a strong voice in Frankfort and in Washington D.C. is extremely important, but at the same time recruiting members is often one of the toughest jobs for a KSA director. This year’s Top Recruiter Award was earned by Caleb Ragland of Magnolia. In addition to his service as a KSA Director, Ragland serves on the American Soybean Board and sees how vitally important representation at the national level is for Kentucky’s soybean farmers.
Another key component to the success of KSA is its volunteers. The Eddie Voils Leadership Award is presented to the past year’s top volunteer. It is a reflection of hard work, respect and dedication to the industry. The award is named for Eddie Voils, a longtime leader in the Kentucky Soybean Association who set the bar high for volunteerism in this farmer-led organization. This year, the Eddie Voils Leadership Award was presented by Voils’ granddaughter, Ashley Coffey. The recipient was Fred L. Sipes of Meade County. He works the farm show and the state fair, taking the Kentucky soybean message to farmers and consumers alike. He has traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with our lawmakers on behalf of Kentucky’s soybean farmers, and he is active in his home county. Fred was also elected President of the Kentucky Soybean Association at the January 15 meeting.
The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor given by the Kentucky Soybean Association. This year’s honoree, Davie Stephens of the Purchase Area, has been involved with the Kentucky Soybean Association since 2005, holding leadership roles up to and including president. He was appointed through KSA to the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, where he served in a variety of roles up to and including Chairman.
He received the Eddie Voils Leadership award for 2011, and was elected to represent Kentucky at the national level on the American Soybean Association Board in 2012. He has served in a number of capacities there, and just recently completed his ASA presidency under some admittedly trying times. He’s spent days on the Hill and he’s been to China and to the White House, working tirelessly on behalf of his fellow soybean farmers.
Stephens has always said “I am a farmer first,” but looking at his calendar the past couple of years and adding up all the days he’s been away from home and his farming operation on ASA related business, it is clear that he’s equally a servant leader.
The Association’s members express their appreciation to these men for their leadership.
The Kentucky Commodity Conference is the annual meeting of soybean, corn and small grain growers in the state.
For more information on soybean farming in Kentucky, visit www.kysoy.org.