The real answer to that question is Kentucky and Kentucky agriculture. I have the honor to chair and present the Kentucky Poultry Federation scholarships each year at our annual meeting in October. Through the generosity of our members and allied companies, scholarships have been established to assist graduating high school students or students currently attending a college or university to continue their education. These scholarships were created to benefit the children and grandchildren of our poultry complex employees, growers, and allied members. The Kentucky Poultry Federation board of directors and members established this fund to help young students continue their academic careers or receive additional training in another area beyond high school.
We’ve not yet had a legacy winner, but I feel it’s only a matter of time. We have had several young farmers and employees who went to work in poultry in the 90s that now have a family and their child has been awarded one of these scholarships. The 2023 winners of the Kentucky Poultry Federation scholarships are:
1. Kennedy Keith
2. Travis Pendygraft
3. Paige Lewis
4. Barek Williams
As part of the application process, the students must answer two questions in essay form. “What are your future career plans?” And they have to also write a scenario-based essay, “If you were the KPF executive director, live production manager, plant manager, or a current grower, how would you educate and promote the Kentucky poultry community?”
Below are some excerpts from this year’s winners. Travis Pendygraft, a two-time winner wrote, “Additionally, educational grower sessions can be recorded and posted to reference later, and the traffic could generate interest from companies who would like to demo a new product at a discounted price. More advanced systems allow farmers to worry less, and feedback from companies and the community allows us to help each other find solutions to common issues–whether they involve technology or not. Most importantly, these workshops build the community by connecting growers and industry personnel to each other.”
Barek Williams answers the same essay question in a little different way. He said, “If I became the live production manager for a Kentucky poultry integrator, I would develop/hire a PR position in my company to target and educate the general public.” He goes on to elaborate further by writing, “Here are a few of the things that I would have them focus on. The term poultry farm refers to a farm on which a large number of birds are raised indoors in optimal conditions that maximize production, minimize the risk of disease, and reduce the cost of protein. Poultry includes domestic fowls like chickens and turkeys which are reared to maximize meat and egg production. For growers, it requires a capital investment and provides additional income and job opportunities to a large number of rural populations. It also improves the nutritional value of people’s diet through less expensive protein and generates rich manure that can replace chemical fertilizers.”
To apply for the 2024 scholarship, completed applications must be submitted by June 30, 2024. Applications will be available in April 2024 on our website, www.kypoultry.org. More importantly, if you would like to donate a silent auction item to help support this scholarship program please contact Jamie Guffey at JGuffey@kypoultry.org.