Albert Peterson- Class 1

​“I thought that CORE Farmer Program provided a comprehensive study of agronomy and modern technologies used in production agriculture today.  It was a great experience; providing an atmosphere for making and fostering relationships between myself, other producers and industry professionals.  The practical education received with the CORE program combined with my activities as an alum, including a visit to an overseas farming region, really provided a fun, educational experience with a global twist.”

Grower Education & Leadership

Class 4 of the CORE Farmer Program kicked off in December with Session 1 in Cadiz. Veteran farmers Tripp Furches, Phillip Bean and Joseph Sisk led off on the agenda by sharing their wisdom in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Chad Lee entitled "My Biggest Mistake."

"I'm very appreciative of the time these farmers took to share the lessons they've learned to help our generation avoid mistakes," said Class 4 member Bryan Kuegel of Daviess Co. "Most impactful was the advice to remember to keep family first." 
The agenda also featured Dr. Steve Isaacs; he shared trends and statistics about cycles in the grain market over the past century. The task of these young farmers will be to manage those cycles with innovation and perseverance. Dr. Isaacs also moderated a panel discussion of ag lenders and led a seminar on crop budgeting.

Dr. Chad Lee wrapped up the session with a discussion about corn plant history and an in-depth presentation on plant physiology. 

Session 2 will be held in January; the topics will be human resources and management, and then for the remaining 5 sessions, the program will follow a strict agronomy curriculum.

CORE Farmer Program Class Dives into Corn Physiology

(July 2017) KyCorn’s CORE Farmer Program hosted Class IV last month for their fourth of seven sessions. The 15 farmers met in the Pennyrile Region for agronomic discussions with farmers and UK extension specialists.
The session began in Hopkinsville on Sisk Farms. Joseph Sisk, a graduate of Class II, hosted the class. The group entered several fields with shovels. The corn was at milk stage to dough stage, and discussion focused on irrigation strategy.

In several field demonstrations, they compared everything from timing of water to fertility and populations for corn under pivots. Later in the day, the group found some shade trees to talk about Joseph’s process for selecting fields to invest in irrigation, his process for choosing equipment, and his method for water withdrawal.

The class met with extension specialists the following day in Princeton. In the morning, they observed soil pits with a variety of soil types and profiles. Dr. Lloyd Murdock discussed how these various soils were formed and how that affected several factors, including drainage and water holding capacity.  Later that morning, they discussed fertility strategies for those various soils. In the afternoon, the topics included plant pathology, and Dr. Chad Lee led a group exercise of comparing individual crop management anonymously, which stretched their curiosity and comfort zones.

Spencer Sims, an Anderson County grain and cattle farmer in Class IV commented, “It’s so good to talk to farmers who are willing to share the good and the bad things, and I appreciate how this program provides that.”  

This class will have three more sessions over the next several months.  KyCorn anticipates enrollment for Class V next fall.

Growing opportunities for Kentucky's corn farmers in a changing industry. 

CORE stands for Crop Observation and Research Education.  The CORE Farmer Program began in January 2010, and since its inception, more than 60 young farmers have completed the program.  New classes are enrolled every three years.  

Classes are comprised of 7 learning sessions, lasting 3 days each.  A tentative curriculum for Class 4 can be viewed here. By completing this program, participants can expect to spend 20 nights from home.  Most seminars will be held in winter months, when on-farm activities are slowed. 

A selection committee appointed from KY Corn Growers leadership chose participants of Class 4. 

“Our goal is to provide the best agronomic-based educational program for Kentucky corn farmers and we do that by continually seeking out top-notch speakers and cutting edge topics,” said Bill Meacham, a member of the CORE Steering Committee. 

For more information, contact Programs Director, Adam Andrews at 502-974-1121 or

Class 4:

Andy Alford, Alford Farms, Warren County
Alana Baker, River Bend Farms, Trigg County
Megan Bell, Bell Farms, Graves County
Lucas Bollinger, Bollinger Family Farms, Christian County
Daniel Carpenter, UK Extension, Larue County
Brad Hines, Hines Farms, Larue County
Justin Jeffries, Worth and Dee Ellis Farms, Shelby County
Willis Jepson, Jepson Family Farm Partnership, Simpson County
Mindy Jones, Hopson Farms, Henderson County
Bryan Kuegel, Flat Lick Farms, Daviess County
William Pearson, Pearson Farms, Logan County
Quint Pottinger, Affinity Farms, Nelson County
Robert Rouse, Sanger Farms, Fulton County
Eric Schwenke, Schwenke Bros. Farms, Boone County
Spencer Sims, Sims Family Farms, Anderson County
Zach Sheldon, Horn Farms, Daviess County