August 21, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

Items of interest to urban and rural residents of central Kentucky will be on the program at the Central Kentucky Farm Expo on Saturday, Sept. 7.

This year’s theme is “Diversifying Agriculture” and the hosting farm is a good example of diversification, said Rod Grusy, Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

Thomas Academy Farm, owned by Rick and Donna Thomas, consists of about 850 acres and includes production of traditional crops such as corn, soybeans, tobacco and beef cattle. In addition, they manage a tobacco supply business and have raised pumpkins and field mums. They also are seed dealers and an agent for direct-marketed tobacco.

Donna Thomas said they have hosted previous field days for Extension and when asked to host the expo agreed to do so. Extension has always been there when they needed it, she said.

“We’ve worked with Extension closely throughout our married life,” she said.

The biennial event is the result of nearly two years worth of planning by the Hardin County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, area farmers and the farming community, Grusy said.

The program is divided into eight tours and topics plus exhibits and a trade show. UK Extension specialists will be on hand to discuss on-farm research on underground corn pests and managing stored grain pests. The tobacco tour will include information on no-till tobacco, curing structures and quality control and marketing. Horticulture will include fertigation of tomatoes, peppers and squash, greenhouse strawberries and blackberry varieties.

An aquaculture tour will include a fresh pond clinic, and freshwater shrimp management and marketing. Beef producers can take a tour to learn about using ultrasound measurements, while an alternative agriculture tour will focus on goat production.

The Hardin County Extension grain committee will host an agronomy tour of this year’s corn and soybean variety trials conducted on the Kenny Wimp farm, which is adjacent to the Thomas farm. Also, a family and consumer science tour will look at the use of soybeans in nutrition and beef cooking the southwest way.

Additionally, there will be an electrical safety demonstration by Nolin RECC. The Lincoln Trail Master Gardeners will be available in the exhibit area to answer questions and diagnose horticultural problems. Bring plant samples.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will have its hay testing van at the expo to do free hay analysis. Producers will need to provide their name and address, type of hay, size of lot and type of bale and whether it is for sale.

A complimentary lunch will be catered for anyone who registers by 10 a.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Jeff Nalley, farm director for WBRK radio in Owensboro, will be the featured luncheon speaker.

Exhibits and trade show are open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to take two tours in the morning and one in the afternoon. The 9 a.m. tour options are entomology and horticulture with tobacco and aquaculture tours conducted at 10 a.m. The final tours will go out a 1 p.m. and participants must choose from among beef, alternative enterprises, agronomy or family and consumer science.

The Thomas Academy Farm is at 6770 St. John Road, Elizabethtown. From Elizabethtown take Ring Road to St. John Road and travel west on St. John for 4 miles. Field Day signs will be posted along the route.On Thursday and Friday prior to the expo the Thomases will host some 700 fifth-graders for an educational trip to the farm.

For more information on the expo, contact Grusy at 270-765-4121.


Rod Grusy (270) 765-4121