MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Hutson School of Agriculture recognized the Rudy family of Rudy’s Farm Center in Ballard County as the recipients of the fourth annual Andy Buhler Spotlight Award during Homecoming 2019.
The new award was launched three years ago as a way for the Hutson School of Agriculture to recognize graduates and supporters whose accomplishments deserve a personal and professional spotlight. The award is named after longtime supporter and alumni Andy Buhler. The 2019 award honors Rudy’s Farm Center for its professional success and personal story.
“The Rudy family epitomizes everything that is right with agriculture,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. “The entire family has been associated with Murray State for a long time and have always been very supportive.”
Rudy’s Farm Center began operating near Kevil, Kentucky, in 1986. Jack and Jeanette Rudy purchased a seed processing plant where they initially cleaned and processed fescue, wheat and soybeans and sold agricultural chemicals. In 1989, Rudy’s began selling and manufacturing livestock feed, serving a radius of approximately 100 miles around Kevil. A full line of hardware was added to the store in 1998.
Jack and Jeanette married in 1974 and had 3 sons, Matt, Steven and Jeffrey, all of whom grew up in the business playing various roles. In 1969, Jack served as president of Purchase Region FFA and had former Murray State professor Dr. Eldon Heathcott as a teacher. All three boys followed in Jack’s footsteps and were involved in FFA and vocational agriculture during their high school years at Ballard Memorial High School.
Matt graduated from high school in 1994 and enrolled at Murray State. He commuted the 65-mile journey each day, taking 20-plus hours per semester and working at the store on days he was not in class at college. He completed his degree in agribusiness in three years. Matt is married to Heather Bickford Rudy and they have 3 children, Alexis, Ashton and Alec.
Steven also enrolled in the University agriculture program and earned his degree in agricultural education. Following college, he began teaching agriculture in Lyon County. After three years of teaching, he returned home to join the family business.
In 2004, Steven, at 25 years old, was elected state representative for Kentucky’s 1st House district and still serves in the Kentucky State House. He is married to Jessica Patton Rudy and they have one daughter, Maddie Sue. Steven was also recognized as the Outstanding Agriculture Alumnus at the Homecoming event.
Jeffrey enrolled in the University agriculture program following his high school graduation. After two years at Murray State, he received the call into Christian ministry and transferred to Asbury University to complete his degree in theology. After pastoring churches in Camden, Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee, Jeffrey now pastors Murray First United Methodist Church. Jeffrey is married to Carrie Lindstrom Rudy and they have two children, Samuel and Julianne.
The entire Rudy family supports Murray State agriculture and has been a valuable source of wisdom and guidance as Murray State has recently obtained the Eagle Rest farm in Ballard County.
“The Rudy family is a great example of faith in the field of agriculture and faith in life,” Brannon said. “The passion, dedication, service, faith, strength and love of the Rudy family serve as examples for all of us in agriculture.”