The Ambassador - December 2021

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THE AMBASSADOR College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association

December 2021

RAMEL SMOOTH BRADLEY ‘08 Community Leadership & Development

From the Dean


One of our main duties as a land-grant agriculture college is to help businesses in Kentucky. One of the most important things we do is to help educate their future workforce. But in our college, we have two other strong mission areas, research and extension. These two missions allow us to help both existing and emerging industries. No business is too small to receive our services, but Kentucky’s signature industries are special to our college. Nearly two decades ago, we stepped up our services for the state’s equine industry establishing the Equine Initiative, now UKAg Equine Programs. A decade later, we similarly increased our services for the bourbon industry, first with the establishment of our distillation, wine and brewing studies certificate and more recently with the formation of the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. Two other new building projects support longstanding signature industries, beef and poultry. We are excited that the USDA Agricultural Research Service will be constructing a new $65.7 million on-campus research facility and an animal-forage field lab at the Little Research Center in Versailles. These facilities will support a nearly 20-year collaboration to increase forage-based animal production and will benefit the people we serve. Ground has been broken on a poultry research complex at the Little Research Center. We serve many industries and commodities with a dedication to helping each become more successful. As you will read in this publication, the college and its alumni are working in the burgeoning controlled environment industry in the state. We are excited to support new horticultural enterprises in Kentucky which could be transformational to agribusiness. Controlled environment production can involve large companies focused on volume and scale, but it also includes smaller producers looking for a way to extend their season or add an additional crop or two throughout the year. Across the state, we have industries of all sizes. The research and educational opportunities we provide have beneficial impacts to every producer. Science, technology and innovation advance every day. It will be interesting to see how this emerging industry develops in the coming years and what other new ideas will soon be developing in Kentucky. Our sense of service—that commitment to advancing Kentucky—is as strong today as it has ever been. We can and will bring the University of Kentucky into the commonwealth it serves. It is through working with and helping our state’s existing and emerging industries to thrive that we make that happen.

Nancy M. Cox Vice President for Land-grant Engagement Dean, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

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College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association

PHILANTHROPY & ALUMNI Brent McCauley 859-257-1207

Danielle Jostes 859-218-1176

Jonathan Furnish 859-257-7211

Tressa Neal


Cynthia Byars 859-257-4069


Sr. Director of Philanthropy & Alumni

Director of Equine Philanthropy

Assoc. Director of Alumni Eng.

Assoc. Director of Donor Relations

Services Mngr. & Exec. Assistant

Sara Mendoza 859-323-7809

President Quentin Tyler ‘02, ‘05 Vice President Melissa Tomblin ‘02 Secretary Michaela Mineer ‘18 Treasurer Ben Conner ‘16 Affiliate Network Representative Stephanie Chamberlain ‘99, ‘00 Past President Sue Whitaker ‘64 UK Alumni Association Liaison Michelle McDonald ‘84, ‘93

Business Officer

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Philanthropy & Alumni office is located in the E.S. Good Barn on the University of Kentucky campus. 1451 University Drive | Lexington, KY 40546 The Ambassador is published three times yearly by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association.

Bluegrass Jacob Ball ‘11 Dietetics & Human Nutrition Jessica Coffie ‘06, ‘10 Cristina Hiten ‘06, ‘10 Equine Autry Graham ‘16 Forestry & Natural Resources Michael Shearer ‘74, ‘76 Fort Harrod Brian Osterman ‘00 Green River Darla Kirkland ‘00 Lake Cumberland Chelsey Anderson ‘11 Licking River Stephanie Chamberlain ‘99, ‘00 Lincoln Trail Jeremy Hinton ‘98 Rick Ryan ‘77 Louisville Keith Jeffries ‘85 Mammoth Cave H.H. Barlow III ‘72 MANRRS Tiffany Monroe ‘17 Northeast Danny Bailey ‘68, ‘71 Northern Kentucky Whitney Stith ‘90 Pennyrile Nancy Kelley ‘81 Purchase Lena Mallory ‘94 Quicksand Thomas Cravens ‘83, ‘90 Wilderness Trail vacant


Human Nutrition Jordan Colella Animal & Food Sciences Kimberly Lopez-Torres Animal Science Sierra Tichnell

FACULTY REPRESENTATIVES Teaching Research Extension

Will Snell ‘83, ‘85, ‘89 Robert Houtz Laura Stephenson


Jill Conway ‘00 Diana Doggett ‘75, ‘77 Brandon Gilles ‘12 James Gilles ‘10 Kim Henken ‘92, ‘95 Amelia Iliohan ‘19 Brooke Jenkins ‘00, ‘05 Bill McCloskey ‘84, ‘87 Martha Nall ‘70 Megan Tennison ‘13, ‘17


Dean Nancy Cox Associate Dean for Instruction Carmen Agouridis ‘05 Assistant Dean for Diversity Antomia Farrell ‘12 Director of Student Relations Wayne Centers ‘08

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The United Nations projects the Earth’s population to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. Feeding that many people will be a challenge unlike any other that farmers and agriculturalists have faced. Kentucky is leading the charge to find innovative ways to produce more healthy food without destroying the environment. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Horticulture is at the forefront of those efforts. New faculty member Garrett Owen is an expert in controlled environment production. He is creating new classes and expanding research opportunities for UK students. Some of Owen’s current research includes floriculture crop production and hydroponic cucumbers and other specialty crops, such as eggplant and melons.

disciplines to study controlled agriculture environments, commercialization and production and will assist in workforce preparedness.

As part of the team’s efforts, Owen will be a liaison between UK and universities in the Netherlands to provide exchange opportunities for students and faculty, as well as internships.

The UK team is basing its controlled environment systems on those in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, small-scale farmers use greenhouse technology that benefits many communities and more than just a few large companies.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to expose students to high-tech, controlled environment horticulture and to offer worldly experiences outside the classroom,” he said. “We plan to conduct a 10-day study abroad trip exposing students to the Dutch controlled environment

“When you look at all the research that’s been conducted in the U.S., hydroponic cucumbers have gained little attention, though there are some researchers looking at cucumbers for high tunnel production,” Owen said. “Greenhouse food crop research has been more focused on tomato production, leafy greens and herbs. Our mission is to generate Kentucky-specific data for growers who are interested in growing cucumbers or want to diversify their crops.” Owen chose cucumbers because many Kentucky greenhouse growers have predominantly grown tomatoes. Cucumbers can adapt to the current systems they already have in place. Greenhouse vegetable producers must manage the environment and cultural practices to prevent and mitigate any disease or infestations while maximizing yield. “Our most problematic disease in our cucumber research is powdery mildew, but with good cultural practices and management of the environment, we’ve only sprayed in a few instances,” Owen said. “In addition, we could not manage diseases and pests without our UK plant pathology and entomology extension specialists, Nicole Gauthier, Jonathan Larson and Ric Bessin.” Owen is part of team in the Department of Horticulture. Their efforts will support Kentucky’s growing controlled environment industry. The team brings the expertise of scientists and educators from a variety of

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Above: Horticulture professor Garrett Owen collecting data for a coleus study at South Farm. At right: A diversity of Professor Owen’s research plants at the college’s South Farm. Page 5: Owen’s cucumber crop at the South Farm.

ecosystem and then offer students the opportunity to perform a six-month to a yearlong exchange program with HAS or Fontys universities.” In addition, students will have internship opportunities with controlled environment technology companies and production facilities located in Kentucky and globally. “These are other examples of what we can do at UK that others may not be able to do,” Owen said. “Furthermore, this prepares our students to be more competitive in the controlled environment industry.”

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Long-time supporters of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Gene and Jean Cravens are establishing a distinguished professorship in the college. The Cravens are donating commercial real estate and cash to fund the Gene and Jean Cravens Distinguished Professorship in LandGrant Service. “The land-grant mission is the backbone of the work in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment through teaching, research and extension,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the college and UK vice president for land-grant engagement. “We are committed to improving Kentuckians’ lives through this mission and teaching students to solve real-world problems. This professorship will help us do all of those things with excellence.” The Cravens grew up in Daviess County, where they met at a party during high school. They’ve been married 65 years and have lived a life of service to their communities, serving on nonprofit boards and traveling abroad to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. They also give credit to UK for influencing their life at all stages. Gene Cravens graduated from UK with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1958, and Jean Cravens earned a bachelor’s in education in 1959. Gene spent 40 years working for New York Life and was involved in commercial real estate on the side. He said he tried to build one building per year. The property they are donating to fund this professorship is on Southland Drive in Lexington. “Cliff Hagan used to have Cliff Hagan’s Ribeye on Southland Drive. I bought that from him and his partner, and then we began to buy other properties in the surrounding area,” Gene Cravens said. “I’ve had this one for about 25 years.” Most donors don’t automatically think of property as their first line of giving, but the Cravens said they see it as a way to give back to UK and the university’s built-in platform that spreads the research of the college to every county in the state through the Cooperative Extension Service. “Many people in our stage of life have been good savers, and we ought to give back to our universities or to some charity,” Gene Cravens said. “We’ve got much more than we need, and we’d like to improve as many people’s lives as

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we can.” “Our lives have revolved a good bit around UK, and I’m just delighted that we can do something to help in some way,” Jean Cravens added. “We all have so much, and I think we are obligated to share. We try to live out our faith by doing that.” The Cravens were recently nominated as outstanding philanthropist award recipients in Vero Beach, Florida, where they now reside. They have supported UK in the past with funds for the Cravens Family Scholarship in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Arboretum, the Gene Cravens Alpha Gamma Rho Scholarship, a planned gift for UK Healthcare and many other UK programs. Funds generated by the Cravens Family Distinguished Professorship will allow the vice president of land-grant engagement to support innovative initiatives related to community support throughout Kentucky. An example of using the fund involves creating multidisciplinary student teams to work through their respective extension office to tackle a local challenge such as food insecurity, safe housing for the disabled or economic development. Funds could be used to support student travel, survey work and communication efforts within the community as they work together to tackle

a real-time issue. Funds could also support bringing in experts who have made a difference in communities outside of Kentucky, focused on rapid results to solve real-time community challenges. The university could bring specialists to communities to provide training, consulting and programming specific to the needs of the area. While extension agents provide some of these services daily, UK’s broader service to the community may come in the form of medical expertise or small-business development, which the vice president may coordinate and fund. “This gift allows us to take the mission of the land-grant system to the next level,” Cox said. “It is an innovative way for us to accelerate our work throughout Kentucky.”


University of Kentucky alum Jamie Fairman discovered just how valuable internships are for students. Hers has led her to owning several house plant and sustainability-focused stores. Originally from Nevada, Fairman came to UK, because of her family’s strong connections to the school. Her parents Debbie and Gary Fairman are UK graduates, and Gary played on the men’s tennis team in 1973-1974. Her brother, Jonathan Fairman, is also a UK alum. Jamie Fairman started out as an economics major but found her way to family sciences. “As I was navigating my way through different courses, I found out about family sciences and really fell in love with it,” Fairman said. “I really enjoyed all of my classes.”

With her business partner, Adria Hall, Fairman founded Koko, a store focused on sustainable living. It currently has five locations including two in Columbus, and one each in Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati. “One minute you think you have a plan, but the world just doesn’t work that way,” Fairman said. “You get so many opportunities thrown your way that are worth exploring. There is not one linear path that is right or wrong. It took a few different jobs, a few different business ideas to land me where I am.” To learn more about Forage, visit their website at

While a student in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the 2011 family sciences graduate interned with a few wedding planners. Wedding planning and family sciences may seem very different, but Fairman said they have more similarities than one would think. “My family sciences degree served me well when I was interning with wedding planners,” she said. “Often, there are a lot of emotions between family members who are planning a wedding, and wedding planners have to help them navigate those emotions.” During her internship with one of the wedding planners, Jeremy Rice, a floral designer with JSD Designs in Lexington, asked Fairman to help him one day. Fairman became hooked on plants and taught herself floral design. When it came time to graduate, the job marked was slim, so Fairman decided to open her own floral design business. She ran that business for five years before opening Forage in 2016, a store specializing in house plants and ceramics. “I have a love for all things botanical and started using house plants in my floral designs and setting up at flea markets selling succulents,” she said. “My first location for Forage was in a shotgun house in Louisville. I never imagined it would take off like it did.” Forage now has seven locations-- two in Louisville, two in Denver, and one each in Lexington, Cincinnati, and Columbus.


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It Starts With Us


Getting into the University of Kentucky gave Juwan Page a way out of little Lamar, Mississippi. Now, at age 23, he’s out, graduated (‘21 Community and Leadership Development), and rising in the ranks at Amazon, working as an area manager at an Atlanta-area delivery station hundreds of miles away from his hometown. But staying out of his hometown isn’t Page’s idea of success. Getting back is, and he does it as often as possible--back to farmland his ancestors claimed after slavery, and back to soil he believes can once again be a source of pride, nutrition, and possibility for his family and his community. “Others may see poverty,” Page said of Lamar, a small unincorporated community about an hour’s drive southeast from Memphis, Tennessee. “Others may see no opportunity. We don’t have a stoplight. We don’t have a police station. We don’t have a grocery store. It’s a food desert, meaning people have to travel over 25 miles to access fresh, affordable, and healthy foods. A lot of things we don’t have. “But when I think about home, I think about this sense of hope. I can swing on a hammock and just sleep without being bothered, and not worrying about somebody coming up and doing harm to me. It’s that feeling of the wind. It’s hearing the horses in the background. It’s hearing my sister on the four-wheeler. It’s just a country feel. This is what I believe people consider the American dream--that type of peace, you know?” It’s a fragile peace. The farm doesn’t support itself at this stage of its multiple generations in the family. So Page lives as modestly as he can in Georgia and devotes as much of his paycheck as possible to buying agricultural machinery and supplies back in Mississippi to help his family fund the farm. “Starting as a temporary associate was good at Amazon,” Page said. “But what became great is when I was promoted to full-time. One promotion led to another--four times in a year and six months. I wonder what five years will look like.” He started at Amazon in January 2020, and his dreams for the farm become more feasible with

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each promotion and pay raise. “I have more farm bills than I have personal bills, let’s just say that,” he said. “I’ve never made a profit off of this farm. Everything we get in, I put it right back into either land taxes or my equipment. It’s for love. It’s for long-term vision.” Page dreams of a future when the farm pays for itself, creates local jobs, and gives his community a reliable source of healthy, affordable, farm-fresh food. “I don’t get to talk to many people about the farm or my passion,” Page said, chuckling as he thinks back on baffled looks from friends and from women he’s dated. “Because when I do that, it’s kind of like, ‘Dude, what in the Mississippi are you talking about? Why this? Out of all the things you could do, why this?’” Chadwick George and Eli Caldwell--college friends of Page’s who also work at Amazon-don’t question his priorities. “Honestly, I commend him,” George said. “People can spend a lot of their paychecks on cars and clothes and getting bigger apartments. He’s putting it into something he loves.” Caldwell said, “I’ve worked on a farm just a little bit. It’s hard, honest work. And owning your land, that’s a great thing--for generations. That’s beautiful.” George, who’s now an operations manager at a fulfillment center in Houston, said he always told people back in college: “Get to know Juwan. He’s country, and he gets that Southern hospitality in that. He’s very genuine. And when he asks you how you’re doing, he wants to know exactly how you’re doing.” Caldwell, an area manager at a sortation center in St. Louis, agrees. He as a theory about how he, George, and Page all ended up joining the

same company, why they’re thriving in their jobs, and why a growing number of their friends have taken their advice and followed them to Amazon. “We love serving people,” Caldwell said. “Through our college careers we were in different positions serving people.” So he figures it’s natural that the three friends would graduate and be drawn to management roles where they could solve problems for employees, coach them to make the most of their careers, and help them move toward their life goals. Being there for people is at the core of Page’s farming in Mississippi and his worklife in Georgia. Describing the way he starts his shift as a manager, he said: “I walk around, see the people, speak to everybody, let people know before I sit down ‘I see you. I’m here.’” He intends to excel, create opportunity for others, and keep earning more responsibility. “The higher I go in Amazon, the more leverage I have to grow that farm,” he said. He summed up his farming with the words “one family, one piece of land, and one big dream to make this place a better place.” He, his family, and his church community make sure that people who normally struggle to afford fresh, nutritious food benefit from each harvest. “This land has been a safe haven,” he said, thinking back over the generations. “It means everything to say next year we’ll potentially be a small business and employer. The biggest thing I want to do is to be a part of a new era of light in the community.”

Story featured in Amazon News. Photo by Lucas Jackson.


post-project commercialization and project postmortems, including the product protecting the levees. “Everyone here is really excited,” Adkins said. “Our product, Armormax, did exactly what we were hoping it would do. We now also have a pending patent on other products which can further protect the nation’s levees.” One of the most critical measures of levee protection is armoring it against the erosioncausing hydraulic forces of wave overtopping. Without protection, overtopping can lead to significant erosion on the land side of the levee and lead to a potential breach of the levee itself. To do this, the synthetic barrier covers the levee while anchors leading into the soil hold the protective covering in place. It is then sown over with grass to add further erosion protection.

A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment graduate is helping the people of New Orleans. Chastity Adkins is a technical manager for Propex, a geotextiles company whose products helped secure the levees of New Orleans. Adkins’ work helped keep Hurricane Ida, which is already projected to be on the top 10 list of costliest hurricanes, from doing further damage. In her position as technical manager, Adkins is responsible for implementing and leading the innovation process for the company’s products, including idea generation, opportunity understanding, stage-gate development,

UK STUDENTS WIN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION By Katie Pratt UK students are world champion food marketers. The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment team of Ryan Murphy, Thomas Pierce and Clara Woods recently won the Student Food Marketing Challenge sponsored by the Food Distribution Research Society. In the international event, students acted as marketing consultants for The Seam, an agritech company based in Memphis, facing a real-world marketing or distribution challenge. The students used their knowledge and expertise in the those disciplines plus management, economics and merchandising to help the company develop a marketing strategy for the launch of a new product. The students were given the scenario two weeks prior to the competition and interviewed company representatives for additional information. With this knowledge, they created a 10-minute video outlining

The primary reason that Hurricane Katrina was so catastrophic was that the 30-foot storm surge overtopped the levee system, causing massive erosion that led to multiple levee breaches. The failure of the levee system created extensive flooding that impacted about 80% of New Orleans. Adkins’ time at UK helped prepare her for this current position. She earned a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences and education and a master’s degree in merchandising, apparel and textiles with a textile focus. In her time at UK, she helped improve gear for fire departments. Moisture

protection in firefighting gear was failing in the field due to ultraviolet rays, and in her thesis, “Evaluation of Moisture Barriers for Fire Fighting Turnout Gear Assessment of Product Failure and Test Method Development Predicting Failure Modes,” she helped evaluate the gear to make improvements. In her work, Adkins evaluated the middle layer of the turnout gear and the moisture barrier for modes of failure. She then compared different types of moisture barriers, exposing them to abrasion and UV light and determined failure using hydraulic pressure. Subsequent improvements in the gear helped increase the safety of the firefighters wearing them. In her current position, she is working on further product improvements, which will help secure the nation’s levees for years to come. “I am impressed and proud of Chastity’s accomplishments,” said Elizabeth Easter, Adkin’s graduate advisor and UK professor in the Department of Retailing and Tourism Management. “She was an excellent student who made the most of her educational opportunities. Her achievements since graduate school show that she has applied the same commitment to her professional career.” Adkins is the co-president of the UK alumni club in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “I absolutely loved my time at UK,” she said. “I loved it so much that I wanted to help lead our alumni group in Chattanooga.”

their recommendations. A group of judges selected the UK team as one of three groups to compete in the championship round. There, they presented their marketing ideas to the company’s CEO Mark Pryor via Zoom. In the championship round, the UK students defeated teams from two New Zealand universities.

“This win gives me a major confidence boost as I prepare to enter the workplace,” said Woods, who will graduate in this month. “I was able to apply much of what I’ve learned in the classroom to this challenge, and that just reinforces the material that we learn in college can truly be applied to real-world scenarios.”

“One thing that was very unique about our team this year was that each of us had different academic backgrounds,” said Pierce, an agricultural economics graduate student from Elizabethtown. “That diversity of knowledge really helped us develop a well-rounded presentation.”

Murphy said soon after the competition began, he realized how well his agricultural economics classes, especially AEC 422: Agribusiness Management, had prepared them to tackle issues like they faced in the challenge.

Pierce was a veteran competitor. He participated in the challenge as part of last year’s team, which received an honorable mention in that competition.

“Winning the competition had definitely been a highlight of my academic experience in the College of Ag, and I am incredibly proud of the effort our team put into this,” he said. “At the end of our presentation, whether we won or lost, I knew we had put our best effort forward.”

This was the first time Murphy, a senior agricultural economics and finance major from Shelby County, and Woods, a senior majoring in marketing from Lexington, competed in the event.

Tim Woods, UK extension professor, is the team coach. The student received $1,000 and a plaque. This is the third Student Food Marketing Challenge championship for UK with additional wins coming in 2008 and 2014.


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2 CAFE GRADS INDUCTED INTO THE UK HALL OF DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI In October, the University of Kentucky inducted 27 new members into its esteemed Hall of Distinguished Alumni. The 2020 class of inductees returned to their alma mater to be honored for their meaningful contributions to the Commonwealth, nation and the world. The prestigious event, held every five years, was postponed last year due to pandemic restrictions. The 2020 class included two College of Agriculture, Food and Environment graduates, William E. Seale and Valerie Still. William E. Seale obtained his bachelors degree in chemistry from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1963. He then obtained his masters degree in 1969 and Ph.D. from the college in 1975, both in Agricultural Economics. Seale, of Annapolis, Maryland, and Key Largo, Florida, is a partner in the ProFunds Group. As chief investment officer, he developed the financial models and investment techniques that direct the investments of the over 200 ProShares and ProFunds. Seale is a professor emeritus of finance at George Washington University, where he had been chairman of the Department of Finance and senior associate dean of the business school. He also was engaged in a consulting and expert witness practice through his firm, Financial Markets Group Inc. Seal was a commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, worked as government relations vice president for a New York futures exchange and was a senior legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Walter D. Huddleston. He has been involved in many organizations, such as the Kansas City Board of Trade, the

CAFE GRAD INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL 4-H HALL OF FAME By Katie Pratt The late Jim Phelps [1970 agronomy grad], former Knott County 4-H youth development agent, was a laureate in the 2020 National 4-H Hall of Fame class. Both The 2020 and 2021 classes were recognized during the 2021 in-person ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was created in 2002 in honor of the national 4-H centennial. It recognizes volunteers, extension personnel,

10 | DECEMBER 2021

New York Cotton Exchange, the New York Board of Trade and the New York Futures Exchange. Seale was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha at UK. He was named to the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Hall of Distinguished Alumni, served as a community member on the UK Board of Trustees Invest Committee and is on the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Board of Trustees. Seale is also an active pilot who owns several airplanes and holds a private pilot certificate with instrument and seaplane ratings. Valerie Still obtained her bachelors degree in animal sciences in 2000. Still, of Palmyra, New Jersey, is a former professional basketball player and coach, author and musician. She also earned a master’s degree in African and African American studies and is finishing her Ph.D. in sports humanities at The Ohio State University, where she was a graduate research and teaching associate. She was a member of the UK women’s basketball team (1979-1983) and holds UK career records (men and women) in scoring (2,763) and rebounding (1,525). Still played professional basketball in Italy, hosted her own television

staff, donors and others, who have made significant contributions to 4-H and its members by giving of their time, energy, and finances over a lifetime of service. Phelps served as the Knott County 4-H youth development agent for 40 years and was very active in youth programs at the Hindman Settlement School. A native of Appalachia, Phelps served as a UK representative on an economic development initiative that promoted the area’s rich cultural heritage. During this time, the area saw $10 million in infrastructure improvements and the creation of two artisan centers designed to teach the arts and product marketing in Hindman.

show and was a TV commentator for men’s basketball. Later in the USA, she played in the American Basketball League, winning two world championships with the Columbus Quest and earning MVP for both championship series. She then joined the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and became a WNBA assistant coach with the Mystics and Orlando Miracle. She founded the Valerie Still Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists youth in their development and launched STILL Java, a socially-conscious gourmet coffee company to assist charities and women and children in underdeveloped countries. She is a member of the UK Athletic Hall of Fame inaugural class and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Still is a recipient of the Jefferson Award for her public service. As president of the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy she continues Dr. Jones’ legacy of public service, social justice and civic engagement through youth empowerment programs and social advocacy.

Active in 4-H Shooting Sports, he was instrumental in introducing the Hunter’s Safety Education Program to Kentucky 4-H. From 1999-2012, he served as the historian for both the Kentucky and National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development associations. Phelps received many honors throughout his career including being named Man of the Year by the Troublesome Creek Times and the Humanitarian Award from the Kentucky Association of County Agriculture Agents and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of 4-H Agents.










Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers. Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau proudly supports giving young farmers the tools, skills and knowledge they need

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| 05 | 09

farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau

technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s

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technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

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Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers.

for success. Why Farm Bureau? Because education ensures a brighter future for

proudly supports giving young farmers the tools, skills and knowledge they need

farmers be educated in the field and in the classroom. Kentucky Farm Bureau

of these changes, the future of Kentucky agriculture demands that tomorrow’s

technologies. New practices. New ways of bringing products to market. In the midst

Farming in Kentucky has seen dramatic changes over the past century. New

all Kentuckians.

Proudly supporting the next crop of Kentucky farmers.







for success. Why Farm Bureau? Because education ensures a brighter future for

Alumni Focus




he n Rame l Sm o o th B ra dl ey (’08 ) was grow i ng up i n the C lint on Hill ne igh borh o o d o f B ro o k l y n, New York , h e was v e ry a wa re o f the food inse c urity su rrou ndi ng hi m. Hi s love of bask e tball equa l ed hi s pa s s i o n for hel ping his n eighb o rs , a nd tha t’s never c han ge d. T he only son of a stro ng, bl a c k s i ngl e mot her, Bradley remem bers when he w as 8 or 9 y ears old, hi s gra ndm o ther, B ishop Ale th ia Ric e c a me to l i v e wi th him and h is moth er D a i s y R i c e. He said hi s grandmoth er i ns ti l l ed i n hi m an et hi c of usin g wh at he ha s to hel p w home v er he c an. “All I wanted to do wa s pl a y ba s k etba l l , t o b ecome a prof e ssio na l a thl ete, ” he said . “Bu t e v ery time I wo ul d c o me i n from t he park , f rom pl a y i ng ba s k etba l l , I had a list of deliv e ri es tha t I ha d t o mak e to f olk s in th e c o mmuni ty, b ecaus e we wou ld se l l f o o d a nd we w ould giv e f ood away to f o l k s who w ere fo od inse c ure.” B r ad ley said h is grand mo ther ha d a p assion f or starting a mi s s i o n to ta k e care of th e h elpless, t he ho pel es s a nd t he hun gry. S he tu r n ed her k i tc hen int o a plac e whe re she prepa red ho t meals, wh ic h was soul f o o d f o r hungry neig hbors. “She t a u gh t me that i t do es n’t m a tter w here y ou c ome f rom, wha t l a ngua ge you sp eak , we all ne ed f o o d, f uel a nd encouragemen t,” h e s a i d. “ I t’s the m a i n t hing that mak e s me who I a m to da y. ” B aske t ball B r ad ley said growing up, he wa s mo re focused on honin g is ba s k etba l l s k i l l s t han p e rf e c tin g h is sc ho o l wo rk , but t hen he had a sc holars hi p o ppo rtuni ty t o at t en d I MG Ac adem y i n B ra dento n, Flor id a . I MG is a pre pa ra to ry bo a rdi ng school and sports trai ni ng a c a dem y. I t w as more k n own f or go l f , s o c c er a nd t ennis bac k the n. Bradl ey wa s a bl e to b e p art of the f irst ba s k etba l l pro gra m at t he ac ademy and to dev el o p i nto a t op -100 prospe c t. Th en U ni v ers i ty o f K ent uck y he ad bask et ba l l c o a c h Tubby Smit h n otic ed Bradley’s s k i l l s a nd recr uit ed him to join the W i l dc a ts i n 2004. “Ever y body k n ows Ke ntuc k y i s the w inninge st program in the c o untry, ” B r ad ley smile d. “Coach Smi th s a i d he could re ally use my ski l l s a t U K . He also w ent to Brook ly n to ta l k to m y mom an d my grandmother. They pra y ed

a bo ut i t, a n d I d e c i d e d t o c om e t o UK.” B ei ng a s t u d e n t - a t h l e t e h a d i t s pres s ures a n d p l e a s u re s . C h o o s i n g a f i el d o f s t u d y w a s n ’t t h e e a s i e s t t h i n g to do . B r a d l e y i n i t i a l l y t h o u g h t a b o u t ma j o ri ng i n m e rc h a n d i s i n g , a p p a re l a n d tex ti l es . “ I wa nte d t o b e a p rof e s s i o n a l a t h l e t e a nd ha v e m y o w n c l o t h i n g b r a n d , ” h e s a i d. “ I t w a s a l i t t l e o v e r w h e l m i n g a n d I c o ul dn’t m a k e t h e p ro g r a m w o r k w i t h my ba s k e t b a l l s c h e d u l e , s o I t a l k e d t o my a dv i s or M i c h a e l S t o n e a n d h e a s k e d me wha t e l s e I c a re d a b o u t . I s a i d , ‘f eedi ng p e o p l e , ’ a n d m y a d v i s or s a i d I needed t o s t u d y a g r i c u l t u re . ” N o t rea l l y w a n t i n g t o f o c u s on pro duc ti o n a g r i c u l t u re , Br a d l e y f o und a g o o d f i t w i t h t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Co m m u n i t y a n d L e a d e r s h i p D ev el o pm e n t i n t h e U K C ol l e g e of A gri c ul tu re , F o o d a n d En v i ron m e n t a nd pro fe s s or e m e r i t u s L o r i G a r k ov i c h . B ra dl ey s a i d G a r k ov i c h e m p ow e re d h i m to purs ue c om m u n i t y w o r k . “ I f el t em p o w e re d t h ro u g h l e a r n i n g ho w to b e a b e t t e r l e a d e r ; l e a r n i n g ho w to s e r v e m y c o m m u n i t y, ” h e s a i d . “ I t wa s n’t u n t i l 1 0 t o 1 2 y e a r s a f t e r I ea r ned t h a t d e g re e t h a t I re a l i z e d i t wa s the b e s t c h oi c e I e v e r m a d e . ” B ra dl ey e x p e r i e n c e d s o m e u n i q u e pres s ures a s a s t u d e n t - a t h l e t e . H e s a i d he f el t l i k e e v e r y o n e o n c a m p u s k n e w hi m a nd t h a t w a s f u n , b u t i t w a s a l s o s tres s f ul k n ow i n g a l l e y e s w e re o n h i m . “ [B ei ng a f a n - f a v or i t e , s t u d e n t - a t h l e t e ] ma de my e x p e r i e n c e f u n i n s o m a n y wa y s , ” he re c a l l e d . “ Bu t I w e n t i n t o c o l l ege t h i n k i n g ‘ oh , I’ m g oi n g t o p a r t y a nd be w i t h m y p e e r s , ’ b u t b e i n g a s tudent- a t h l e t e a n d b e i n g re c og n i z e d ev ery whe re k i n d of f orc e d m e t o b e a n ex a mpl e o f h ow t o s t u d y, b e on t i m e , repres en t m y t e a m , m y b rot h e r s , U K a nd the s t a t e . S o , i t w a s k i n d of l i k e ‘o k a y, l et ’s g row u p n ow ; l e t ’s d o t h e ri ght thi n g b e c a u s e f ol k s a re w a t c h i n g y o u. I t m a d e m e b e c om e a re s p o n s i b l e y o ung m a n a l o t f a s t e r t h a n j u s t g o i n g to pa rti e s a n d l e t t i n g l i f e c om e t o m e . ” A f ter gra d u a t i o n , Br a d l e y s p e n t s o m e ti me wi th t h e N e w J e r s e y N e t s b e f o re ul ti m a tel y d e c i d i n g t o g o ov e r s e a s a n d pl a y pro fe s s i o n a l b a s k e t b a l l i n C roa t i a , Fra nc e, I s r a e l a n d Tu r k e y. “ I t wa s a d re a m c o m e t r u e i n a l o t o f wa y s , ” h e s a i d . “ I a l w a y s w a n t e d

t o s t u d y a b ro a d b u t p l a y in g col l e ge b a s k e t b a l l d i d n ’t a l l ow me t o do t h at . I g ot t o g o t o a n o t h e r c ou nt r y, e mbr ace i t , a l l w h i l e p l a y i n g b a s k e t bal l . I sr ae l w a s p ro b a b l y m y f a v or i t e pl ace ; I p l a y e d t h e re f o r f o u r y e a r s, bu t I w as a b l e t o w i n a c h a m p i on s h i p an d some g re a t h on o r s i n Tu r k e y. ” Co m i n g H o m e In 2 0 1 6 , Br a d l e y l e a r n e d t h at h i s g r a n d m o t h e r ’s h e a l t h w a s fai l i n g, a n d h e d e c i d e d t o t a k e a bre ak from b a s k e t b a l l a n d c o m e h o m e t o h e l p. S h e w a s d i a b e t i c a n d w a s s t r u ggl i n g w i t h t h e e ff e c t s of t h a t a n d h ear t di se ase . “ I’ m e d u c a t i n g m y s e l f m ore an d more ... I l e a r n e d t h e re a re m i l l i o ns of pe opl e d y i n g f rom c h ro n i c d i s e a s e s n ow, n ot j u s t i n A m e r i c a , a ro u n d t he w or l d,” h e s a i d . “ F or m e t o s e e m y g r an dmot h e r g oi n g t h rou g h i t … s h e ’s my i n spi r at i on … s h e ’s m y h e a r t . I j u s t n e e de d t o p u t b a s k e t b a l l on p a u s e an d h e l p my g r a n d m o t h e r a n d ot h e r pe opl e .” Br a d l e y re t u r n e d t o N e w Yor k an d re e s t a b l i s h e d h i s g r a n d m ot h e r ’s n e i g h b o r h ood f ood p a n t ry. T h e y p a r t n e re d w i t h s o m e of t h e l arge st org a n i z a t i on s i n N e w Yo r k C i t y t o fe e d u p t o 2 , 5 0 0 p e op l e e a c h w e e k. “ Ri g h t a ro u n d t h a t t i m e , my fr i e n d J o n a t h a n We b b c a l l e d m e an d t ol d me h e n e e d e d m e t o p u t m y agr i cu l t u re d e g re e t o u s e , ” h e s a i d . “I t ol d h i m I w a s h o m e a n d I w a s n ot l e avi n g Bro o k l y n , a n d I t ol d h i m wh at I w as d oi n g , f e e d i n g p e o p l e . H e t ol d me I c o u l d h a v e a l a rg e r re a c h.” We b b i s t h e C EO of A p p H ar ve st , a n a g r i c u l t u r a l t e c h n ol ogy compan y w i t h a v i s i o n t o f e e d t h e w or l d. T h e y a re ro o t e d i n Ke n t u c k y, w i t h l arge , c o n t rol l e d - e n v i ro n m e n t f ar ms i n M o re h e a d , Ri c h m on d , S ome r se t an d Be re a . T h e y p l a n t o m a k e Appal ach i a t h e A g Te c h c a p i t a l of A me r i ca, fe e di n g a n d e m p ow e r i n g p e o p l e an d cre at i n g j ob s . T h e y p l a n t o op e r a te 1 2 h i gh t e c h , i n d oor f a r m s b y t h e e n d of 2 0 2 5 . “ J o n a t h a n t ol d m e h e w a n t e d me t o go t o P i k e v i l l e a n d h e l p h i m bu i l d a far m on t o p o f m o u n t a i n w h e re t h e y u se d t o m i n e c o a l , ” Br a d l e y s a i d. “I re al i ze d t h a t s om e o f t h e t h i n g s l i ke ch ron i c d i s e a s e , a n d l a c k o f a c c e ss t o h e a l t h y f ood p l a g u i n g m y gr an dmot h e r a n d p e op l e i n Bro o k l y n w e re t h e same t h i n g s p l a g u i n g p e op l e i n r u r al

continued on pg. 14


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communities in Appal a c hi a . J o na tha n s a i d f eedi ng 2 , 5 0 0 p eop le was a gre at thi ng, but we ha v e a n o ppo rtun i t y t o help fee d million s of peo pl e us i ng m o der n a gri c ul t u r a l t echnology. How c ou l d I s a y no to tha t? ” A pp Harves t In 2017, Bradle y re tu r ned to K entuc k y a nd j o i ned Ap p H a rv est. He f oun ded the c o m pa ny ’s hi gh- tec h ed ucational c ontaine r f a r m pro gra m a t Shel by Va l l e y H i g h School in Pik e Coun ty. “I’ ve liv e d in man y pl a c es , but go i ng f ro m B ro o k l y n , N e w Yor k, to Easter n Ke ntuc k y wa s def i ni tel y c ul ture s hoc k , ” h e said . “I was work ing wi th hi gh s c ho o l s tudents a nd t e a c h i n g t hem how to f ar m in 4 0- f o o t s hi ppi ng c o nta i ners . T h e st ud ents were listen ing to the s a me mus i c we l i s ten e d t o i n B rookly n, an d we f ou nd s o me c o m mo n gro und. The y w o u l d g et up at 6:3 0 in th e m o r ni ng to c o m e l ea r n to f a r m a n d w e list ene d to ‘Old Town R o a d’ to gether … c o untry k i d s a n d a g uy from Brook ly n, it wa s perf ec t. ” B r ad le y ’s work ing title i s c o m muni ty di rec to r. He c o n t i n u e s t o w or k with the AgTec h pro gra m , but a l s o tra v el s a ro u n d t elling th e AppHarv e s t s to ry to c o mmuni ty o rga ni z a t i on s , nonp rof its and c olle ge s tudents , a nd he s uppo rts th e t a l e n t acq uisition team to hel p f i nd the bes t ta l ent wi thi n t h e reg ion and be y on d. H e s a i d he wo ul d tel l s tudents w h o w ant t o f ollow in his ca reer f o o ts teps tha t f i ndi ng t h e r i g h t career is about pu tting y o ur pa s s i o n to wo rk . “It ’s not roc k e t sc ie nce, ” he s a i d. “ We a re f eedi ng p e o p l e healt hy f ood, c re atin g j o bs a nd pro tec ti ng o ur env i ro n m e n t . If t hat ’s some th ing y o u c a re a bo ut, y o u s ho ul d c ert a i n l y w ant t o le ar n more. E a r ni ng a l i v i ng i n s o methi ng t h a t h a s p ur p os e an d allows y o u to c a re f o r y o ur c o m muni ty a n d p rolong quality of lif e thro ugh hea l thy, a c c es s i bl e food i s a g ift . A lot of time s, we ha v e thi s v i s i o n, thi s i dea of t h e l i v e s w e w ant to liv e, an d t hen bo o m , l i f e ha ppens . I f a l o n g t h a t jour ney, y ou are stay i ng true to y o urs el f a nd do i ng t h i n g s t hat you c are abou t, t hen s o meho w, the c rea to r, he m a k e s i t all w ork out.” B r ad le y is also giv ing ba c k by wo rk i ng wi th U K ’s a w a rd w inning c hapte r of Mi no ri ti es i n A gri c ul ture, N a tura l Resourc e s and Re late d Sc i enc es . He wa s n’t a wa re of M ANRRS while he was s tudy i ng a t U K but no w f eel s s t ron g l y ab out be ing inv olv ed. “C oming f rom Brook ly n, I rea l l y di dn’t rea l i z e I wa s a minor ity study ing agr i c ul ture, but no w I ’m i n a po s i t i on t o mak e an impac t on the nex t genera ti o n, ” B ra dl e y s a i d . “W hen y ou se e the sta ti s ti c s , f ewer tha n 1% o f f a r m e r s are b lac k , and man y o f o ur bl a c k c o mmuni ti es a re fo o d ap ar t h e id. We hav e a l o t o f wo rk to do . ”

Top: Ramel, pictured against Vanderbilt, played point guard for the University of Kentucky basketball team from 2004 to 2008. Middle: Ramel pictured with Bill Keightley, former equipment manger for UK basketball. Bottom: Ramel teaching a group of students about urban farming.

Student Spotlight


HORTICULTURE MAY 2021 HOMETOWN: Tompkinsville, KY ACTIVITIES: President of the UK Horticulture Club

Q: What led you to choose the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment? A: At the start of my academic career, I was a pre-med student planning to study emergency medicine at the University of Louisville. After my first year, I realized I didn’t like any of my classes and that I didn’t want to continue on to medical school. I sat down for a few weeks trying to decide what a kind of career I wanted, and then concluded that my love of plants could give me a fulfilling education and career. I transferred to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 2019, and I haven’t regretted it once. Q: What does the college mean to you? Describe your overall experience. A: CAFE means a lot to me in many ways. For starters, the College is smaller than others on campus giving more of a community feel for students and faculty. In many classes, the same faces pop up and making new friends and learning about other disciplines in the college is never hard. Another thing I love about the College is the people. Everyone I have interacted with in CAFE as been nothing but kind and helpful, that sense of community creates a culture where we want to see everyone succeed. Coming from a pre-med program that is highly competitive, the friendly nature of CAFE members was a refreshing start. Working with people in the College as well as agriculture in general has been an amazing experience. Q: How is the college preparing you for your future? A: The College has prepared me for the future in a few different ways. After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree in May, 2022, I plan to continue my education at the graduate level. My advisors and professors have helped me prepare for this since my first semester in the College. They have provided advice, tips for graduate school, how to find the right program and so much more. Through them, I have been able to gain a better understanding of what makes a successful graduate student. The College has also prepared me for life after college. Through College-hosted events, I interact with businesses and local members of the Lexington community. That gives me a better understanding of what agricultural jobs are available in the area. My professors have also provided me with practical education experiences, where I take what I learned in class and see how it is used in the everyday life of agricultural workers. Q: Where do you see yourself in 15 years? A: In 15 years, I see myself with a Ph.D, continuing to do extension work and research at a land grant university. I am especially interested in working through Cooperative Extension to help growers solve their problems and to be as successful as possible. Q: Why would you recommend the college to future students? A: I would recommend the College to future students because it is a great environment to find career paths, network with like-minded people, and to learn about yourself. The College is full of people who want to see students succeed, so whether you have a career path in mind or you are still deciding on a major there are members of the College who are more than happy to help. Classes in the college tend to be smaller, so each semester you’ll find many familiar faces from previous classes, making friends is never hard! This also means that forming connections with professors is easy.


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The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s

Night of Excellence This inaugural award ceremony will be held on

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2022 at the University of Kentucky Gatton Student Center.

The following awards will be presented:

The CAFE Friend Award

The Horizon Award

The Paul Appel Alumni Service Award

The Hall of Distinguished Alumni

For a list of honorees and more information about the event, follow our website at

We Do More Than Lend. We Lift Up. At Farm Credit Mid-America, everything we do is rooted in the communities we serve. Across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, we invest in the future of rural America and agriculture. From our day-to-day business of supporting farmers, to our charity efforts and scholarships for students, we help local communities find their next level. 12 | E-FARMCREDIT.COM/Community JULY 2021 Visit to learn more. Subject to credit approval. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Farm Credit Mid-America is an equal opportunity lender.


KENTUCKY vs. GEORGIA Join us at our new location, Central Bank Center, for a meal and pep rally before the game! Central Bank Center | Exhibit Hall A 430 W. Vine Street | Lexington, KY 40507


3:30pm 4:15pm 5:00pm 6:00pm

Registration will open soon.

Follow our website for more information.


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To our sponsors,


we thank you! 18 | DECEMBER 2021

Would you like to sponsor in 2022? Contact Jonathan Furnish at for more information.

MIKE RICHEY, UK’S VICE PRESIDENT FOR PHILANTHROPY, TO RETIRE AT YEAR’S END By Emily Girard Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, Mike Richey, who has been involved with UK since the 1960’s, is retiring at the end of 2021. “Mike came to UK as a young student...He never left UK, and this university, of course, never left him,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Along with his family, UK became his life’s passion.” Originally from Muhlenberg County, Richey came to UK as a freshman in 1969. After earning a master’s degree from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Richey continued to work in the college. He mentored students coming to UK from small towns and helped establish Roundup, an event that continues to this day. Richey was also the College of Agriculture’s first philanthropy officer, eventually coming to the central philanthropy department in 1998. He helped run a $1 billion development campaign that was the first created by a public university. “His career has been one of remarkable firsts, starting magazines, garnering national awards

and earning university-wide recognitions such as the Sullivan Medallion,” Capilouto said. “Mike would be the first to say he shares the honors with his team, and they would be the first to say they were simply following his vision for UK and the Commonwealth.” As Vice President for Philanthropy, Richey heads Kentucky Can, UK’s main philanthropy program. The historic $2.1 billion campaign with, currently, over 142,000 donors, was announced in 2018 and funds scholarships and research collaborations. “It’s a comprehensive campaign involving all of our academic colleges, UK HealthCare, athletics, student services and a myriad of programs that we offer across the state at the university,” Richey said in an episode of the Behind the Blue podcast. “It’s our time to do our job so that the generation that follows us will...[provide] the resources for the next generation.” In that same episode, Richey communicated his respect for Capilouto, citing him as one of the reasons he chose to delay his retirement to see the Kentucky Can campaign through. “I may have the title of...Vice President for Philanthropy, but when it comes to working on certain level gifts, [potential donors] want to see the president, and he is...a philanthropist himself,” Richey said. “He sets the standard of...communicating with our people in a very straightforward, ethical way about what they can accomplish with their philanthropy to the University of Kentucky.”

President Capilouto recently appointed a committee to launch a national search for Richey’s replacement. “We won’t be able to replace Mike. No one can,” Capilouto said. “But the foundation of excellence that he has built puts us in a position to attract enviable talent.”


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Presorted Standard US Postage Paid Permit 51 Lexington KY College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Philanthropy & Alumni 1451 University Drive Lexington, KY 40546-0097

RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization.


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