Richie Farmer – Kentucky Basketball great; Mustache Commissioner of Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Richie Farmer was elected Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture in November, 2003, and was sworn into office in January, 2004. He was re-elected to a second four year term on November 6, 2007.

Since taking office, Commissioner Farmer has fought vigorously on behalf of Kentucky’s consumers and for Kentucky’s agriculture industry. Commissioner Farmer recently spearheaded an effort to protect Kentucky motorists by persuading the legislature to fund a new state-of-the-art motor fuel quality laboratory. He has improved the efficiency of the Department’s public protection functions by streamlining processes and introducing new technology, and by working with legislative leaders to strengthen consumer health and safety legislation. He has fought vigorously for the expansion of the state’s world-class animal health diagnostic laboratories, which play a vital role in protecting the public health, as well as our signature horse industry and other vital animal agriculture industries. He has also created the Department’s signature Kentucky Proud marketing program, which is helping to expand the markets for Kentucky farm products. Since the inception of the program in 2004 has grown from just under two dozen members to over 1500, and has resulted in the sale of almost a half billion dollars in Kentucky Proud food and farm products since 2006.

Commissioner Farmer has served as the President of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture, an organization that represents farmers and other agricultural interests from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the US Virgin Islands. As a national agriculture leader, the Commissioner promoted the interests of Kentucky producers in the creation of the 2007 Farm Bill and other legislation and is currently working with his counterparts representing Kentucky producers in the creation of the next Farm Bill.

The Commissioner believes that children are Kentucky’s most important crop. As such, he has boosted funding for agricultural youth programs such as 4H and FFA, as well as youth livestock shows, even in tight budget times, because he believes they are an important investment for Kentucky’s future.

Born in Clay County on Aug. 25, 1969, he is the second of Virginia and Richard Farmer’s three children. Before taking office, Commissioner Farmer worked as an investment advisor in Clay County. He lives in Frankfort with his wife Rebecca and their three sons, Trey, Thomas and Tate. A 1992 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Commissioner Farmer earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management. He was also a standout player for the UK basketball Wildcats under Coach Rick Pitino.

Over the years, Commissioner Farmer has given his time to such charitable organizations as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Children’s Miracle Network, American Cancer Society, and Kicks for Kids.

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