“It takes a level head and strong heart to blaze the path of change. Jim not only opened doors for himself; he has allowed others the same opportunity.”

Beyond the obvious time commitments needed to effectively run his farm year-round, Sidebottom has also served in numerous roles on the Green County Farm Bureau Board of Directors since 1986 (including four years as 1st vice president).

He is currently president of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, Green County Soil Conservation District Chairman and a member of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board. He has held many different positions with other industry-based and civic-oriented organizations over the years, serving at the local, regional and state levels.

Sidebottom has given countless hours of volunteered time and leadership to these groups, and his civic-minded activity is a big part of how he is identified by those closest to him.

Judges visited the three “Farmer of the Year” finalists during the fall to conduct interviews and see each farm in action. The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation awarded Sidebottom with a $1,000 prize for being named “Farmer of the Year,” and the other finalists, Cannon and Roberts, received $250 each as runners-up.

In addition to the statewide recognition and prizes, Sidebottom will represent Kentucky in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year contest, the South’s most prestigious agricultural award, in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 16-18, 2012.

He will also receive $2,500 from Swisher International and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative. Sidebottom 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.

Finalist, Jere Cannon
Cannon, a 54-year farming veteran, raises registered Angus cattle, hay and corn on his farm in Flemingsburg. His herd began as a 4-H project with his brother back in 1952, and then steadily grew into the successful family operation that it is today.

Cannon is a 54-year member of the Kentucky Angus Association, 40-year member of the Fleming County Farm Bureau Board of Directors (including two years as president), 30-year member of the Southern States Regional Board of Directors, founding member of the Kentucky Beef Cattle Association, and has served in numerous capacities with several other civic and industry-specific organizations during his career.

Finalist, Craig Roberts, a 31-year farming veteran, runs a cow/calf operation and raises corn, soybeans, wheat and hay on his farm in Princeton.

He additionally puts his entrepreneurial skills to work for his logging and land excavation businesses.

Roberts has served on the Caldwell County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for 31 years (including six years as president), as Secretary for the Lower Tradewater River Conservation Board for 25 years, as a member of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee for 10 years, as a member of the Caldwell County FSA Committee for four years, and is actively involved in multiple roles with his church and other civic and industry-specific organizations.

With more than 500,000 member families statewide, Kentucky Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization. Approximately 1,300 members attended KFB’s 92nd annual meeting, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3, to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements as well as adopt policy for 2012.