LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Protesters are expected to be out at the annual Ham Breakfast, an event put on by the Kentucky Farm Bureau at the State Fair.
Four advocacy groups say they are protesting what they call the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s “discriminatory policies.” They say the bureau’s policy-book includes positions that are anti-LGBTQ, anti-teacher, anti-union and it recently added a policy targeting transgender students in Kentucky schools. They also say Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance customers may not be aware of the policies.
In a release sent out Wednesday, the groups stated: “Each year, Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance customers are automatically charged a fee that enrolls them as compulsory members of the company’s 501(c)4 lobbying arm, which spent nearly $100,000 last year lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly on policies outlined in their printed policy book, which elected officials receive but policyholders do not.”
The groups have also released a video, calling on the Kentucky Farm Bureau to “stop the hate.” The 30-second video features Congressman John Yarmuth and advocates from the ACLU of Kentucky, the Fairness Campaign, Jefferson County Teachers Association, and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice.
The Kentucky Farm Bureau sent out a statement from its president, Mark Haney, in response to the groups’ accusations.
“Kentucky Farm Bureau is proud to be welcoming 1,500 guests to tomorrow’s breakfast that celebrates the best of the Farm Bureau—our commitment to Kentucky agriculture and philanthropy. We are proud of today’s tradition because KFB Loves Kentucky. In its 56-year history, the ham breakfast and auction has raised nearly $13 million for Kentucky charities and nonprofit organizations. Kentucky Farm Bureau is a democratic organization. We are member-based and member-driven and therefore our policies reflect our membership and Kentucky’s rural communities. Our process mirrors the very precepts on which our nation was founded- a fair, free democratic process is essential to best representing the views of the Farm Bureau’s members.
The statement goes on to say: “To be clear, the Kentucky Farm Bureau does not discriminate. We follow the law. And to be very clear, we do not apologize for our democratic, grassroots process, the principles of which have served our nation very well for a long time and this organization for 97 years. We respect the right of all organizations to go through their policy development process. We ask that organizations and individuals respect our right to follow our process, even if you think differently.”
The Ham Breakfast takes place on Thursday, August 22 at 7 a.m. at the State Fair in Louisville.