ROBER T MICHAEL “MIKE” BACH has served his country as a U.S.
Army officer, and as a successful Kentucky farmer. In the army, he
was known for his marksmanship, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
As a farmer, he successfully transformed his operation from
relying on burley tobacco to one that now includes beef, forages,
corn, and soybeans.
Bach’s success as a row crop and beef cattle farmer has resulted
in his selection as the state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt
Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. He will join nine
state winners as finalists for the overall award to be announced
Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Sunbelt Expo farm show at Moultrie, Ga.
On his Slate Creek Farm near Owingsville, Ky., Bach grew some
of the first Roundup Ready alfalfa. Last year, Bach planted 30
acres of hemp, a potential new alternative crop he grew for seed.
He’s also a successful peach grower, with 400 trees on just over
an acre of land. He has 200 acres of timber, and about an acre of
He farms a total of 2,500 acres, with 1,050 acres of owned land
and the rest rented. He has a 220-cow beef cattle herd, and this
year has 400 acres of corn and just over 1,000 acres of soybeans.
Last year, he had 800 acres of soybeans, with a yield average of 68
bushels per acre (some yields hit 90 bushels). His 400 acres of corn
yielded 225 bushels per acre; 300 acres of hay yielded 3-1/2 tons
per acre; 30 acres of corn silage yielded 24 tons per acre; and 70
acres of alfalfa hay yielded about 4-1/2 tons per acre.
PAR T OF HERITAGE
As a tobacco farmer, Bach averaged 96,000 pounds annually,
2017 Kentucky Farmer of the Year
but when the government quota was eliminated, he moved on
to other enterprises. He still grows a few tobacco plants in his
garden, just to maintain a history of the crop, he says. “Tobacco
was a big part of my heritage.”
Most of his corn grain is sold for cash to a local feed mill, and
he forward contracts most of his soybeans. He markets the corn
silage by feeding it to his own cattle. Some corn is sold to whiskey
distilleries, but they want no more than 14 percent moisture. A
new grain dryer helps him serve that market. He also has 60,000
bushels of grain storage that aids with his marketing.
Mike Bach named
Mike and Mary Bach.