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Farmer honored as Distinguished Rural Kentuckian

Kentucky Co-ops present award at 77th Annual Meeting that emphasized grid reliability

Photo: Tim Webb
Photo: Tim Webb
Photo: Tim Webb
Photo: Tim Webb
Photo: Wade Harris

Kentucky Electric Cooperatives recognized outdoorsman and television host Tim Farmer as its 2023 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian during the co-op association’s 77th Annual Meeting in Louisville. As the host of “Kentucky Afield” for 20 years, and on the nationally syndicated “Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen” since 2012, Farmer casts a positive light on Kentucky. Overcoming a traumatic injury while a U.S. Marine in the 1980s and a persistent painful condition to this day, Farmer’s story exemplifies the best of Kentucky.
Distinguished Rural Kentuckian is the highest honor bestowed by the association, which consists of 26 electric cooperatives across the commonwealth. It recognizes outstanding individuals who have devoted their lives to Kentucky in a way that matches the co-op mission of enhancing the quality of life here. Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO Chris Perry presented Farmer with the award following a special video tribute. The full video can be viewed on the association’s YouTube channel.

“If I ever did anything worthwhile, it’s because I have been surrounded with wonderful worthwhile family and friends,” said 2023 Distinguished Rural Kentuckian Tim Farmer. And having the best parents in the world is the greatest blessing. Some of the wisest words I have ever heard came from the deepest hollers. What an honor to be in the company of folks that have preceded me in this tradition.”
Farmer is the 39th Distinguished Rural Kentuckian. Since 1982, the association has honored recipients from the arts, politics, journalism, business, education, religion, athletics, and agriculture. Three former honorees were in attendance at this year’s banquet, including 2004 recipient Jim Host, 2017 honoree Byron Crawford and 2021 recipient David Beck.
“We are so proud to celebrate another outstanding year for Kentucky’s cooperatives and to recognize Tim Farmer’s inspirational story and dedication to Kentucky,” said Kentucky Electric Cooperatives President and CEO Chris Perry. “Behind our responsibility to deliver safe and reliable energy at the lowest cost possible, is the underlying mission to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. This meeting made clear, Kentucky’s electric cooperatives will advocate for their consumer-members, no matter what it takes.”

The Annual Meeting’s banquet also featured a keynote address from Hall of Fame basketball coach John Calipari of the University of Kentucky. Speaking to several hundred co-op members, friends and guests, Calipari praised Kentucky’s cooperatives, saying: “They serve half of our state. They’re about people first, not profits. And they’re big basketball fans. My goal for my team is to have the same commitment and resolve as you do in this room.”

With a theme of Support, Advocate, Educate, the meeting also included remarks by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Youth Leadership Council delegate Brennan Christmas of Logan County High School and nationally known energy journalist Robert Bryce, who urged co-ops to push back against government policies that threaten reliable and affordable power.

During the Annual Meeting, the co-ops also celebrated the 75th anniversary issue of Kentucky Living magazine, the flagship publication of the association that spotlights the people, places and activities that make Kentucky a great place to live, work and play.

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