LOUISVILLE, Ky. (8/21/14) — The Kentucky State Fair's Grand Champion Ham is a hot commodity, earning a record-high $2 million charitable bid during Kentucky Farm Bureau's 51st annual Country Ham Breakfast and Auction.
After bidding against one another at the auction's opening and watching the prices climb higher and higher, Republic Bank & Trust Company paired with Hermitage Farms and Bridgeman Foods to present the record-shattering $2 million bid. The 15.89-pound Grand Champion Ham produced by Broadbent's B&B Foods of Kuttawa, Ky., was therefore worth approximately $125,865 per pound.
The previous record high was another joint bid of $1.6 million from Republic Bank & Trust Company and Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates in 2010.
"I'm proud to share this moment with the Bridgeman and Hermitage Farm folks," said Steve Trager of Republic Bank & Trust Company after the auction's conclusion. "It's two million dollars. Now we can do some really good things in the community, and that's what it's all about."
Nearly 1,600 people gathered for KFB's 51st annual Country Ham Breakfast and Auction in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, and were witnesses to this monumental feat of charitable giving. Local, state and national elected officials spoke prior to the auction 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 seven-figure amounts for the Grand Champion Ham.
Trager announced at the Ham Breakfast that the charitable donation from the Republic Bank & Trust Company would be steered towards institutes supporting health care and education. Wilson shared that his group's half of the winning bid would be split among a few different charities, including the West End School in Louisville.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to double the ability to give to the community," concluded Steve Wilson of Hermitage Farms. "I think the ham is a wonderful symbol of the bounty of the agricultural products in Kentucky; a good symbol of charity and sharing food."
Although no goal amount is set for the ham's top bid each year, KFB has now helped raise more than $8.9 million for dozens of local charities, educational institutions and non-profit organizations through the 51-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 a amazingly successful day when we can place the spotlight on Kentucky's deep agricultural roots and help bring about a multi-million dollar donation to local charities," said Joe Cain, KFB's commodity director and ham breakfast event coordinator.The ham 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 $739,000.
Information provided by Dan Smaldone
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