Ray Allen Mackey, a 27-year farming veteran, raises corn, soybeans, tobacco, beef cattle and swine on his 4,535-acre farm in Elizabethtown.

He began farming immediately after graduating from college, first helping his father manage the family farm, then sharecropping some neighboring land, and eventually purchasing his own farm in 1986.

As the size of Mackey’s farmland and facilities continued to grow with more acquisitions over the following years, so did his family’s involvement on the farm. Mackey’s brother, wife, and both of his sons all play integral roles on the farm today.

Mackey has been a member of the Hardin County Farm Bureau board of directors since 1985 and served as its president since 2004. He is also vice-chair of the KFB Swine Advisory Committee and the KFB District Three chairman.

Mackey is additionally very active in the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, serving on its board since 2003 and serving as president for a two-year term.

Judges visited the finalists in late-September to conduct interviews and see the farms first-hand.

The “Farmer of the Year” award will be announced at KFB’s 2013 state annual meeting in Louisville on December 6, and the winner will receive $1,000 from the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.

All three finalists will be given a KFB jacket, and the runners up will receive $250 from the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.

In addition to the statewide recognition and prizes, KFB’s “Farmer of the Year” winner will represent Kentucky in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern “Farmer of the Year” contest, the South’s most prestigious agricultural award, in Moultrie, Georgia, October 14-16, 2014.

The state winner will also receive $2,500 from Swisher International, a customized jacket and a $200 gift certificate courtesy of The Williams Dickie Company, and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative.

Kentucky’s winner will compete against nine other state winners for the chance to win a $15,000 award from Swisher International and several other sponsor-based prizes.