Agriculture, politics and philanthropy take center stage at the 51st Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast & Auction

Louisville, KY (August 13, 2014) – The Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast & Auction, a large-scale celebration of the Commonwealth’s deep agricultural roots, returns for its 51st year as the official kickoff to Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Day at the Kentucky State Fair. This ticketed event begins at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 21, in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center and is followed by a live charitable auction of the state’s 2014 Grand Champion Country Ham.

Angela Osting of Yum! Brands Foundation (seated, holding purple ribbon and crystal plate), poses with the grand champion ham, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Governor Steve Beshear, Miss Kentucky 2013 Jenna Day and numerous representatives from Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Fund for the Arts after placing the winning $350,000 bid.

Mark Haney, President of KFB, will host the morning’s ceremonies. Guest speakers Governor Steve Beshear, Senator Mitch McConnell, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will join Haney on center stage to share their insights on the political efforts required to keep agriculture thriving in our state and nation. Approximately 60 other local, state and national elected officials will also be in attendance for the breakfast.

Anticipating a sellout crowd of 1,600 attendees, KFB is once again preparing huge quantities of food – most of which is provided directly by Kentucky farmers. More than 5,400 eggs, 1,600 half-pints of milk, 30 gallons of sorghum, 20 gallons of honey, 6,400 oranges and 450 pounds of country ham will be served during the breakfast.

Miss Kentucky 2013, Jenna Day, showcased the Kentucky State Fair’s grand champion ham to bidders during the 50th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast and Auction.

At the conclusion of the breakfast and guest speeches, the focus of this annual event shifts with much pageantry to a live auction of the state fair’s Grand Champion Ham. Miss Kentucky 2014, Ramsey Carpenter, will showcase the prize ham, garnished with roses and nestled on a silver platter, to the bidders while an auctioneer calls for charitable bids.

The auction’s humble beginnings – a respectable $124 winning bid at the first event in 1964 – have grown exponentially in recent years. The average price of the auctioned ham over the last 10 years is now nearly $545,000. Last year’s $350,000 winning bid was the third highest offer ever from a single bidder, and the fourth highest bid in the auction’s 50-year history. Yum! Brands Foundation of Louisville bid on and won the 13.3-pound ham produced by Harper’s Country Hams of Clinton, Kentucky.

While such high bids understandably generate a lot of attention and excitement, they also come backed with good intentions. All the money raised from the ham auction is donated directly to the charity of the winning bidder’s choice. Through the 50-year history of the auction KFB has helped raise more than $6.8 million for local charities, educational institutions and philanthropic groups.

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