Kentucky Ag News
Steve Trager of Republic Bank & Trust Co. (seated with the grand champion ham) poses with Miss Kentucky 2015 Clark Davis in the front row, while Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Governor Steve Beshear, and representatives from Kentucky Farm Bureau and Republic Bank join in for a group photo after the winning $400,000 bid was made. (Kentucky Farm Bureau photo)
Grand champion ham fetches $400,000 at 52nd Annual Country Ham Breakfast & Auction
Kentucky Farm Bureau
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On a stage set to celebrate the Commonwealth’s deep agricultural roots, Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) 52nd annual Country Ham Breakfast & Auction concluded Aug. 27 with a show-stealing $400,000 bid for the Kentucky State Fair’s grand champion ham.
After a quick round of spirited bidding, Republic Bank & Trust Co. emerged victorious with its generous $400,000 bid for the 14.13-pound ham produced by Father’s Country Hams of Bremen, Kentucky. That is the equivalent of approximately $28,307 per pound of ham, the sixth-highest bid in the auction’s history and the 13th time the winning bid has eclipsed $100,000. This is also the eighth time in the past 12 years that Republic Bank & Trust Company has placed the winning bid.
“This is part of our philanthropic culture. We’re excited about it; we love partnering with Farm Bureau,” said Steve Trager of Republic Bank & Trust Company at the auction’s conclusion. “It’s a great day for Kentucky and Republic Bank. We’re proud to be part of this event.”
A sell-out crowd of nearly 1,600 people attended KFB’s annual Country Ham Breakfast & Auction in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Governor Steve Beshear, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer preceded the auction with speeches about current agricultural and political conditions in Kentucky and across the nation, but the event hit a fever pitch as the audience watched bidders duel in six-figure amounts for the Grand Champion Ham.
Trager announced at the Ham Breakfast that the charitable donation from Republic Bank & Trust Co. would be given to local education and health care initiatives.
“It’s all about giving to charity. That’s part of what we do. This is a component of it every year,” said Trager. “So long as we continue to do well at Republic Bank, we are going to share with the community that helps us.”
KFB has now helped raise nearly $9.3 million for dozens of local charities, educational institutions and non-profit organizations through the 52-year history of the auction. All money raised through this auction is donated directly to the charity of the winning bidder’s choice.
“It’s an indescribable feeling to be part of an event that so positively and immediately impacts both Kentucky agriculture and local charities,” said Joe Cain, KFB’s commodity director and ham breakfast event coordinator. “With great help from our generous bidders, this is always a great day for Kentucky Farm Bureau.”
From its humble beginnings – a respectable $124 winning bid at the first event in 1964 – the ham auction has grown exponentially in recent years. The average price of the auctioned ham over the last 10 years is now $745,000.