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Brittany Smith introduced Kirby Hancock at banquet

By Brittany Smith
I am forever grateful and honored to have this opportunity to present Mr. Kirby Hancock with the Adair County Chamber of Commerce Agriculturalist of the Year award.

In the fall of 2000 (I'll let you do the math there), I stepped foot inside a classroom that, little did I know, would change the trajectory of my life. As a freshman, I was looking for my niche in the walls of Adair County High School, and I found it in Mr. Kirby Hancock's classroom.

Alongside the numerous other students in my class, on the first day of school, we were presented with the assignment of memorizing and reciting the FFA Creed. Unlike many others, this was a task that I actually enjoyed and I worked hard to develop and perfect my ability to speak through this assignment over the next 5 weeks in his class.

That assignment has been the first day of school assignment in Mr. Hancock's Principles of Agriscience class as long as he has been teaching (I think), and thousands of students that have sat in the walls of his classroom all have their own personal recollection of just how those words and that assignment have impacted them. Over the course of that year, and the three years that followed, I embraced all of the opportunities that Mr. Hancock provided to learn in the classroom, apply through my Supervised Agricultural Experience program, and compete in the FFA Organization.

And like I said earlier, I was not alone. If you look at the sheer number of students that have been impacted by Mr. Hancock's classroom and his teaching, it is remarkable. From how to work cattle, to how to grow corn, soybeans and tobacco, to how to restore an old tractor, Mr. Hancock uses every day to instill agricultural knowledge in the minds of his students.

Now Mr. Hancock did not just jump into his career as a teacher in Agricultural Education... he was born and raised in the life that he works to teach to his students every day. He was raised on a dairy farm by his parents Max and Carolyn Hancock. In 2002, he and his wife Robin bought an 85 acre farm to start their own operation. Today, they farm over 1,000 acres of soybeans, corn, and wheat. He researches new conservation methods and crop management technologies in his free time to increase efficiency in his farming practices. He also has an innovative way of researching and solving equipment problems and breakdowns through research and consulting with other farmers in our community. He has two sons, Hayden and Hudson, that he has coached in multiple 4-H and FFA competitions and includes them in all farming operations.

Professionally, Mr. Hancock has a variety of accolades, but I will just mention a few of the highlights. He has coached multiple FFA teams and individuals that have competed on state and national levels including several Land Judging teams (the most recent one was able to travel and compete in Oklahoma in May), Crop Scouting that won state accolades in 2019 and 2020, and a variety of Quiz and Creed contestants through the years. He coached me to win state and compete at National Convention in Job Interview a few years ago too. In addition to FFA competitions, he had a major role in the construction of the Adair County High School FFA agricultural barn which provides livestock handling facilities to the community for weighing, vaccinationations, and veterinary care. He also had a major role in creating the welding certification program at Adair County High School. He was appointed to the Governor's Commission on Family Farms in 2004, and has served as a member of the Adair County Extension District Board, Adair County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, an officer of the Adair County Cattlemen's Association, and a leader in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Lake Cumberland Regional Alumni Association for numerous years. Finally, he is a National Board Certified teacher in agricultural education, and has been since 2003.

It is truly amazing how quickly time flies. It doesn't seem to me that it's been that long since I was that freshman student in his class. And now that I'm in the position that I am, I hope to have the same impact on my kids that Mr. Hancock has had on me and so many others in our community. I am forever grateful and honored to have this opportunity to present Mr. Kirby Hancock with the Adair County Chamber of Commerce Agriculturalist of the Year award.

We've invited each one who introduced his or her favorite winner at the annual Columbia Adair Chamber of Commerce banquet to share their words. Columbia Magazine hopes to have special notes about each and every nominee in addition to those who won the votes in the eight categories.

This story was posted on 2022-06-23 07:26:23
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