Photos by Lisa Bicknell’
Above, Kiwanis President Jeff Hix with Heritage Farmer “Dink” Dixon; above right, Heritage Farmer Jason Smith, and Heritage Business Owner Jim Hayes.
Two farmers and a business owner were recognized during the well atttended annual Kiwanis Club’s Heritage Farm-City Banquet last Thursday night.
Roy ‘Dink’ Dixon and Jason Smith were the farmers recognized, and Jim Hayes, owner of Irvine Community Television, was the business owner recognized.
Hayes also said he has a farming background, having graduated high school from Bourbon County. He raised tobacco to pay college tuition, and graduated in 1971 from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
“Anybody that can make a living as a farmer is a good person,” he said, adding that he had a cattle herd for 49 years but gave it up when it became “too much for one man.”
He served three years in the military, so he had to put his engineering career on hold for a while. He started working at the cable company as a temporary employee before he was called to active duty in late 1971, just as the US was pulling out of Vietnam. In 1972, he was sent to the Army reserves, and he came back to the cable company pending a job search-then forgot to leave!
Hayes has been married to his wife Pam since 1975. He is the past president of Kentucky Cable Television Association, has been on the Kentucky Cable Board since 1974, served as vice-president of Southern Cable Association, and served as vice-chairman of CATA National Association of Small Operators.
Hayes feels that customer service is the most important key to a businesses’ success. He also said he has tried to be innovative as a business, and his was the second company in the state to offer broadband. The current broadband width his company offers is “about as good as you can get anywhere,” he said.
Jeff Hix, president of the Kiwanis Club, praised Hayes for his company’s assistance with the technology side of the annual Kiwanis auction.
Roy Dixon, most commonly known by his many friends and Wagersville neighbors as Dink, was honored as one of the Heritage Farmers this year.
Dink started farming at about the age of 14, and when he was 16, he traveled to the bluegrass farms to work in tobacco. In 1953, he went to the Army, and he served as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. He married Alma Jean Miller in 1960, and they raised three children: Teresa, Marvin and Judy.
Dink said, “I want to give her [his wife] most of the credit,” adding “she raised the kids while I worked.”
“We never had any trouble out of our kids,” he said. Alma also helped around the farm, in addition to taking care of the home and the family. She passed away from cancer in 2000.
Dink bought his first farm in 1970, and he raised and leased tobacco, while raising cattle, horses and hogs. He also worked a “public” job with the Kentucky Department of Transportation, from which he retired.
Dink said he is fortunate to have good neighbors on all sides, and “a hillside behind me.”
He closed his acceptance remarks by saying, “I thank all of you, and wish you good health.”
Jason Smith was honored as a heritage farmer also. He devotes full time to farming on 900 acres, raising corn, soybeans and hay, as well as cattle.
Smith is a graduate of EKU with a degree in Agriculture Business.
Smith’s remarks were brief, as he thanked the Kiwanis Club for their support, and said “We need all the help we can get.” He also said he doesn’t think he deserves the award, as he thanked his wife and parents for their support.
Smith said he thinks Estill County farmers are in a “good place,” as far as the support they get from the extension office and the FSA office.
He is married to Brandi, and they have a daughter, Abby.
Cutlines: Joe Riddell, president of the Estill County High School chapter of the Future Farmers of America, addressed those at the banquet Thursday night.
Jim Daues, manager with the Bluegrass Stockyards, gave a talk explaining some of the amenities at the new Bluegrass Regional Marketplace that opened in 2017. It was built to replace the one that burned in January of 2016. The new marketplace contains much more than stockyards, including shops, a restaurant, a farrier supply, an agricultural museum and more. Bluegrass Stockyards sells in seven locations throughout the state, as well as on the internet. Daues said they conduct 11 sales a week. They even host Cowboy Church there each week.