Lewis (Ben) Furnish Jr. of Harrison County, Ky., is a member of Class X of the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program (KALP).
KALP, housed in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment is an intensive two-year program designed for young agricultural producers and agribusiness individuals from Kentucky and Tennessee who want to be on the cutting edge of decisions that affect agriculture, rural communities and society.
The program identifies motivated and energetic people who seek to improve their leadership, management, and communication skills.
Graduates then use those skills to meet the challenges facing agriculture and to enhance the quality of life in rural communities. Furnish is one of the 22 applicants selected for Class X.
The program dates back to the mid-1980s and was originally called the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Development Program. Currently more than 100 financial supporters, including the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, Kentucky agribusinesses, farm organizations, program alumni and participant fees provide funding.
The program consists of 10 domestic seminars devoted to important agricultural issues. Sessions also focus on improving participants’ communication, leadership and management skills. Class members visit a variety of Kentucky farms and agribusinesses, Frankfort and Washington D.C., and will travel to other states and nations to explore agriculture in different settings.
Furnish farms full time in Harrison County. His farming operation includes tobacco, grain, and feeder cattle. He graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky and was previously an agronomist for Altria Client Services. Furnish was recently named Chairman of the Harrison County Farm Bureau Board and is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Alumni Association. He earned an award for Outstanding Young Farm Family from the Harrison County Farm Bureau in 2009. Agricultural issues that are important to Furnish are changes in tax policy, increasing world population, and animal welfare. His wife Katie is a nurse at Harrison Memorial Hospital. They have one son.