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Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award presented to Clayton Geralds and Frank Penn

Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award presented to Clayton Geralds and Frank Penn

Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award presented to Clayton Geralds and Frank Penn

Geralds and Penn were recognized by Extension for their outstanding contributions to the Kentucky agricultural community.


The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service presents the Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award each year to Kentuckians who exemplify leadership across agriculture, 4-H, family and consumer sciences or community and economic development. The award was endowed by Cooper, dean of the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment from 1917 to 1951. 

This year, the award was presented to leaders Clayton Geralds and Frank Penn for their significant impact in Kentucky and beyond.  

Clayton Geralds runs a commercial hay farm near Munfordville, Kentucky. After transitioning from dairy farming in the 1980s, Geralds devoted most of his time to producing the highest quality hay and streamlining the bailing and handling process with custom equipment. He is well known in Kentucky and across the nation as an innovator in hay production, specifically alfalfa hay. 

“It is an honor and a blessing to receive the 2023 Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award,” Geralds said. “I am truly humbled by the list of previous recipients. I appreciate all the University of Kentucky does for the producers of this great state.” 

Geralds’ impact is evident through his involvement with the Hart County Farm Bureau and Hart County Cattlemen’s Association. He also served as president and board member of the National Hay Association and the  Kentucky and American Forage and Grassland Councils. 

Frank Penn owns Pennbrook Farm and also received the Thomas Poe Cooper Award. With a farming legacy dating back to the late 1960s, Penn has produced tobacco, cattle, corn, soybeans and sod. However, Penn and Pennbrook farm are best known for racing and selling Thoroughbreds. 

“There are countless individuals that excel in agriculture, but being able to transform that passion into true advocation for a community and state is something to be treasured,” said Beau Neal, Fayette County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Penn’s nominator. 

Penn’s service on boards and commissions includes the Kentucky Ag Development Board, Kentucky Agricultural Finance Committee, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the Kentucky Equine Education Project Board. He was also president of the Council for Burley Tobacco. Penn was a leader in Kentucky Farm Bureau and was a catalyst within the Fayette County Farm Bureau Board — establishing an endowment and, providing long-term support for the local scholarship program. 

For more information about Extension or the Thomas Poe Cooper Farm Leadership Award, visit


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