Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kentucky Soybean Association honors Sebree man

Keith Tapp, left, accepts the Kentucky Soybean 
Association’s Distinguished Service Award from 
newly-elected President Ryan Bivens. In the 
background is outgoing President Davie Stephens.  

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
Sebree area farmer Keith Tapp was honored recently by the Kentucky Soybean Association by receiving their highest honor, the 2014 Distinguished Service Award.
“This award is the highest honor given by the Kentucky Soybean Association and it is not given lightly,”  said outgoing Kentucky Soybean Association President, Davie Stephens, at the organization’s recent Kentucky Commodity Conference, held in Bowling Green. “He’s done it all willingly, and he’s done it all well. This man is a great example of what a farmer-leader ought to be.” 
“I had no idea he was talking about me,” Tapp said in an interview later that evening  with Rae Wagoner, Editor of the Kentucky Soybean Sentinel. “That is the biggest honor we give and even though it’s a secret who gets the award until it’s announced from the podium that night, when I heard Davie start speaking I thought I knew who he was talking about. I was happy for that guy, because he works so hard on behalf of soybean farmers in our state and internationally. Then Davie said a couple of things and I thought ‘hmmm. I don’t remember him serving on that,’ but I still never dreamed that he was talking about me.”  
Opportunity for service and the need for leaders has increased dramatically in agriculture over recent years, and the role of the farmer-leader has diversified. International marketing, biodiesel, meeting with legislators in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., setting policy for the American Soybean Association and helping to lead action teams for the United Soybean Board are all things that Sebree farmer Keith Tapp has done in service to his fellow farmers.  
Tapp has served on both the Kentucky Soybean Association Board (a position to which he was elected by his peers – other soybean farmers in this region of the state) and the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board (an appointed position) in a variety of roles intermittently since 1983. He has received a variety of awards for his service, including the Eddie Voils Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves as one of Kentucky’s two representatives to the United Soybean Board, the soybean checkoff’s national arm, where he was selected to serve this year as Vice Chairman of the Audit and Evaluation Action Team.  He has also represented our state at the national level with the American Soybean Association, the legislative and member-driven side of the soybean coin. 
Tapp has served as Kentucky’s representative on national boards and committees for everything from the farmers’ freedom to operate to soy-based biodiesel, and he brings what he learns at the national level back to Kentucky’s soybean farmers.  
Tapp said that he is honored and thankful that KSA chose him for its highest honor, but that the attention is rather overwhelming. 
“There are a lot of names on that plaque who have done a whole lot more than I have,” he said, “but to be honored like this, well, it’s a really big deal to me and I could not have been more surprised.”

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