LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Farm Bureau will host the 53rd annual County Ham Breakfast and Auction at the Kentucky State Fair Thursday morning, and as in recent years, it will be met by protesters.
This year, for the first time, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) will join volunteers from the Fairness Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the Jefferson County Teachers Association, and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice in speaking out against what they describe as the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's discriminatory policies. State Representative-Elect Attica Scott will also join the protest.
"As one of the state's largest lobbying groups, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation officially promotes policies that are anti-LGBT, anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-choice, and pro-death penalty, among others," according to a news release from the Fairness Campaign, an organization dedicated to promoting equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. "Each year, Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance customers are automatically charged a fee that enrolls them as members of the company's 501(c)4 lobbying arm, which spends on average more than $100,000 lobbying in Kentucky. While elected officials are mailed copies of the company's policy booklet, which details the organization's discriminatory stances, it is not sent to paying customers."
According to the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Farm Bureau states the following in its policy book - all stances with which the protesters disagree:
- The institution of marriage should only be recognized as the legal union of a man and a woman.
- We strongly believe in the value of all individuals both born and unborn.
- We strongly oppose teacher strikes. We oppose legislation that mandates collective bargaining for public school employees.
- We support the enactment of right-to-work legislation.
- We oppose an increase in the minimum hourly wage.
- We strongly oppose any mandate that would require any government entities to recognize and collectively bargain with employee unions.
- We oppose unionization of farmers and farm laborers.
- We support capital punishment.
Kentucky Farm Bureau's policy book can be viewed by clicking here.
The Ham Breakfast showcases the best of Kentucky agriculture by presenting the state fair's grand champion country ham for auction to the highest bidder, according to a news release from Kentucky Farm Bureau. Auction proceeds benefit the winner's Kentucky charity of choice.
Since the event began in 1964, Kentucky Farm Bureau has raised nearly $10 million for charities across the state. Last year's winning ham sold for $400,000.
The average price of the auctioned ham over the last 10 years is $745,000, Kentucky Farm Bureau says. In 2014, Republic Bank and Hermitage Farms with Bridgeman Foods, Inc. bought the winning ham for a record $2 million.
The breakfast, which typically is a sold-out event, includes speeches from the state's political leaders.
Thursday's breakfast and the protest are both scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center's South Wing B.