Steers are marketed in trailer-load lots to order buyers for
backgrounding. He sorts heifers and sells some at the same time
as steers. Top-performing heifers are bred and sold by private
treaty or through a bred heifer sale. Bulls are sold through private
treaty and cull cows are sold at local stockyards.
Peaches are sold through a Kentucky Proud farmer’s market,
and he also sells peaches and asparagus at the farm. Much of the
asparagus goes to upscale restaurants.
Bach provides custom silage harvesting for neighbors,
which provides additional fall income and helps maintain good
relationships. He typically sells round and square hay bales to
neighboring farms. He also harvests hay for neighbors, receiving
half of the harvested bales for payment, and does custom
bulldozing and soybean harvesting for neighboring farms.
BIG EQUIPMEN T
“I decided to save money on labor by buying and using big
equipment,” he says. “We now use 8-row and 16-row planters, and
300 hp tractors. He’s building new cattle-working facilities, and
has built four hoop barns to store hay."
Tobacco settlement money helped him to improve cattle
facilities and the genetics of his beef herd. “We have a 90-day
breeding and calving season, he says. “We buy performance-
tested bulls, mainly Angus. We have never gotten a bad bull, and
we’ve bought some superior bulls. We select bulls for calving ease
Bach grew up on a 60-acre beef and tobacco farm. As a child,
he was paid 10 cents per day to shovel manure from a barn. He
was active in FFA and studied animal science at the University of
Kentucky. After graduation, he served five years of active duty in
the U.S. Army, including a tour in Vietnam.
After that, he moved to Louisville, Ky., and sold farm equipment
for five years, then moved to Owingsville to farm with his father-in-law. Throughout much of his early farming career, Bach served
in the Army Reserve, which required extensive travel throughout
the U.S. and the world.
Protecting the environment is important, he says. He has
used rotational grazing, buffer strips along streams, and has built
ponds. He composts dead animals, uses grassed waterways, has
a manure-handling shed, and recycles plastic from round bale
silage. He also uses no-till planting, along with crop rotation and
Bach is planning for the future, with an estate plan in place for
passing on his farm. And he’s still buying land — over time, he’d
like to have more owned land and less rented land.
Bach has been active in a number of Bath County organizations,
including the Cattlemen’s Association, Extension Council,
County Fair, Extension Foundation, and Farm Bureau. He has
been a member of a local Southern States advisory committee,
Owingsville Lions Club, and the Chenault FFA Advisory Board.
At the state level, he served as president of the Kentucky
Cattlemen’s Association, is on the 4-H Foundation board, and
served as Extension Council president, and on the University of
Kentucky’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Advisory Board.
He has been on an advisory board for the University of
Kentucky Farmhouse Fraternity, participates in an annual
Kentucky Farm Bureau beef tour, and served on a state water
quality advisory committee. He serves on a state Farm Bureau
forage committee, is vice chair of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s
Foundation, and is a member of the University of Kentucky
He’s a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,
and a life member of the U.S. Army Reserve Officer’s Association,
the Military Marksmanship Unit Organization, and the National
His wife, Mary, retired from teaching and is an accomplished
farmer as well. The farm would not have the success it has without
Mary’s work, he says. She planted corn and cared for the cattle
when he was away. She keeps books for the farm, manages cattle
near their home, and oversees the farm’s peaches and asparagus.
Mike and Mary have been active at Owingsville Baptist
Church. She is active in Bath County groups for homemakers,
retired teachers, Cattlemen’s Association, Farm Bureau, and a
cemetery board. She was secretary for the County Agricultural
Investment Program. At the state level, she is a member of the
Retired Teacher’s Association, Cattlemen’s Association, National
Retired Teacher’s Organization, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef
Their son, Steven, is a University of Kentucky agriculture
graduate, who came back to the farm and helped in the transition
from tobacco to other crops.
L. Joe Cain with Kentucky Farm Bureau is coordinator of the
Farmer of the Year award in the state. Bach was nominated for
the honor by Michael Staton, Farm Bureau president in Bath
County. Staton and Steven Bach were friends growing up, and
were University of Kentucky roommates who both came back to
Bath County to farm and have become leaders in the community.
Staton says he admires the Bachs for their community leadership
and their farm diversification.
George Hieneman, area program director with Kentucky Farm
Bureau, has known the Bachs for seven years. “My wife was county
Extension agent here,” he says. “She told me the Bachs would
welcome me with open arms — and they have.”
Bach was nominated for the honor by Michael Staton.