Jim Sidebottom, a 55-year farming veteran of Green County, was honored as the 2011 Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) “Farmer of the Year” during the organization’s 92nd annual meeting in Louisville.

Jere Cannon of Fleming County and Craig Roberts of Caldwell County were the other finalists also considered for this award.

Each year, KFB 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. A careful review of Sidebottom’s detailed nomination form and an on-site visit to his farm solidified the judging committee’s decision to honor him as the 2011 “Farmer of the Year.”

Sidebottom currently raises dairy cattle, corn, wheat and hay on his 443-acre farm in Greensburg, but he and his wife, Ona, spent the first 13 years of their careers juggling part-time farming with owning a flooring business and raising a family. His lifelong dream of becoming a full-time farmer wasn’t realized until 1981.

Since that time, Sidebottom has worked hard to grow and improve his farm. He expanded the farm’s acreage to allow for a greater volume of production, increased storage capability to buy and store bulk commodities, purchased a variety of new and bigger equipment to more efficiently plant, harvest and maintain crops, and hired additional employees to help on the farm and make sure that he still had time to spend with his family.

Even by hiring extra farmhands to free up his time, Sidebottom’s farm is truly a family affair. Jim’s oldest son, Stacy, has been a partner in the operation for more than 20 years, and helps with the daily operations of maintaining the farm. Ona raises the calves and is responsible for the bookkeeping.

As the Sidebottoms have pulled together under Jim’s leadership to keep the family farm running at a high level of efficiency, Jim has also left a lasting impression on the community around him.

“Jim’s knowledge of agriculture and vision for the future of agriculture has helped to bring attention to the needs of not only Green County, but for the state of Kentucky,” said Green County Farm Bureau president, Larry Clark, in his recommendation of Sidebottom for this award.