Daviess County’s Gary Cecil has been selected as the 2022 Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Farmer of the Year. The annual award recognizes an individual whose efforts not only strengthen the state’s agriculture industry, but also demonstrate service and leadership both on and off the farm.
Cecil will be awarded the honor during the organization’s 103rd annual meeting at the Galt House in Louisville this December.
Cecil, who has been farming for 49 years, raises crops – including watermelon, corn, soybeans, mixed vegetables, and greenhouse flowers.
Cecil and his wife, Imelda, have three adult children who are involved in the operation of Cecil Farms.
“Having my family as part of our farming operation is very important to me,” Cecil said. “I value our time together and appreciate what we have created and grown over the years.”
Throughout his years of farming, Cecil has experienced numerous successes as well as some challenges, especially with labor-intensive farm crops like tobacco and fruit and vegetable production. He said there were many years he had an excessive turnover in employees, which made it difficult to complete jobs.
“Twenty-eight years ago, we started using the H2A program to bring in seasonal workers. The reliable help transformed our farm,” Cecil said.
Cecil has served on multiple committees and been a part of various organizations since the start of his farming career. He was named President of the Daviess County Farm Bureau Board in 1991 and 1997, and he was awarded “Owensboro Living People’s Choice Favorite Farmer/Food Producer” in 2022.
Through all his leadership and community roles, Cecil said his family developed productive relationships that have resulted in his operation continuously improving.
Since stepping away from tobacco farming in recent years, Cecil said he has added eight greenhouses for spring flowers, ferns and plants and early vegetable production. Cecil noted that this has given them the opportunity to attract local customers to the farm for spring experiences.