Harlan County Farm Bureau Secretary Joanne Miniard has retired from the position after 25 years of service.
During her tenure at the Harlan agency, Miniard served on a variety of committees and in numerous positions and also worked to promote the importance of agriculture through many venues.
Humbled by the attention she has received for her retirement, she said, “When you do this, talk about my work and not about me. I want my work to be the focus point…”
Reflecting on her career, Miniard said, “I loved it. I loved the people I worked with. It wasn’t just a working relationship, it was more of a family atmosphere.”
As she leaves the position, she reflected on the changes she has seen in the area concerning agriculture.
“It is very sad,” she said. “Your older generation of people raised gardens, cattle and things like that. That has declined as the years have passed.”
One area she speaks with continued excitement about is her organization’s focus on tree farming.
“Now, we really support tree farming. That is one of our main objectives, to get more people involved in tree farming. That is a big issue for us, getting landowners to start tree farm management and then assist them with it.”
Another area of concentration for her has been to educate children about agriculture.
“I performed Ag in the Classroom,” she said. “There were kids who didn’t know where eggs came from or where pork chops came from.”
Reflecting on the lessons she taught, she noted the program had significant impact with students.
“One project I was really proud of was the garden project we worked on for two or three years at Cumberland Elementary School We actually had an outside garden. We helped them buy seed and the materials to help get started. Later on they got a hot house.”
“I worked with a lot of kids” over the years, she said.
She admitted to being pleased with her work with the Apple Tree and the Creech orchard near Cumberland.
“I did some taping of Terry Creech with the Apple Tree, his orchards on the mountain on reclaimed land, and talked with his dad on the apple genetics. He has a patent on the scarlet gala. He worked closely with the University of Kentucky,” she said.
She also worked with adults through the Harlan County Homemakers program, teaching classes and assisting with various projects.
Another program that she still speaks with excitement about but no longer exists was the tire purchase discount for Farm Bureau members.
“It was sad to see that go,” she said, adding her father and longtime Harlan County Farm Bureau President the late Frank Couch began.
As part of her job, she was active in implementing and overseeing the Farm Bureau facility on Walnut Street in Harlan.
“It was always my dad’s dream for the Harlan County Farm Bureau to have their own building. I am really proud of that building. It is actually named after my dad.
She served on the Harlan County Farm Bureau’s Scholarship Committee, the Young Farmers program, financial committee, women’s committee, media relations and member information.
Her work was not limited to the area of agriculture. She was a member of the Harlan Lions Club and is a past member of the Harlan County 4-H Council.
Prior to joining Farm Bureau, she worked as an advertising sales representative at the Harlan Daily Enterprise for several years.
Miniard was honored on Thursday for her service. She received a plaque, presented by local Farm Bureau President Don Miniard, who is also her husband.
The Miniards have three children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.