Kentucky State Reps. Richard Heath and Steven Rudy honored for contributions to agriculture

MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture honored Kentucky State Reps. Richard Heath, ’84, ’89, and Steven Rudy, ’00, as co-recipients of this year’s Outstanding Agriculture Alumnus Award.

The pair were honored during Homecoming Weekend in October for their contributions to agriculture and to Murray State.

“This is only the second year that we are honoring two recipients instead of one,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. “Both gentlemen very strongly support Murray State University and led the charge for funding the new Murray State Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville. Both these gentlemen, as agricultural businessmen and governmental servants, have distinguished themselves with their contribution to regional and national agriculture and support of the Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture.”

Heath was born in Graves County, Kentucky. After serving as president of the local FFA chapter in high school, he was awarded the American Farmer Degree, the highest honor awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experience. 

The Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture honored Kentucky State Reps. Richard Heath, ’84, ’89, and Steven Rudy, ’00, as co-recipients of this year’s Outstanding Agriculture Alumnus Award. From left are Heath, Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson, Outstanding Young Agriculture Alumnus Award recipient Curtis Dame, Rudy and Hutson School of Agriculture Dean Dr. Tony Brannon.

Heath earned both his Bachelor of Science in agriculture education and his Master of Science degree in agriculture at Murray State. He has been a long-serving member of the Murray State Agriculture Alumni Association and regularly attends the alumni gathering. He is also a member of the Mayfield-Graves County Chamber of Commerce, the Association of General Contractors, the Home Builders Association and the National Rifle Association. 

Heath represents the 2nd House District in the Kentucky General Assembly, which is comprised of Graves County and a portion of McCracken County. He is currently serving his fourth term in the House of Representatives and was first elected in 2013. Heath is the chair of the House Agriculture Committee, which deals with all agricultural and livestock related matters. 

In 2017, Heath was honored as a “Friend of Poultry” by the Kentucky Poultry Federation. The Kentucky Family Foundation has also named Heath a Champion of Faith, Family, and Freedom. The Kentucky Home Bakers and the Institute of Justice have recognized Heath for his efforts to pass legislation allowing home bakers to sell products to customers straight out of their kitchens, free from regulatory restraints. Additionally, Heath was named Legislator of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his work to pass a law that requires ignition interlocks for DUI offenders after the first offense. 

Rudy also served as FFA chapter president in high school. He graduated from Murray State with a degree in agriculture education in 2000, where he served as a member of the University’s FFA chapter.

Following his time at Murray State, Rudy taught agriculture education and served as an FFA advisor for three years at Lyon County High School. During that time, he led the chapter to receive numerous awards and trained the state-winning Chapter Meeting team.  In 2003, Rudy returned to the family business, Rudy’s Farm Center in Kevil, Kentucky, to help in day-to-day management and operations.

He was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly serving Kentucky’s first house district in 2004. He currently serves as chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, which plays an instrumental role in the creation of the state budget as well as state and local tax policy. 

Rudy is also a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee, as well as the Western Kentucky Caucus, Pro-Life Caucus and the Kentucky Sportsmen’s Caucus. 

The Hutson School of Agriculture also named Curtis Dame, ’10, ’12, the 2019 Outstanding Young Agriculture Alumnus Award recipient.

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