District 3 – Director Rick Thomas
He always wanted to be a farmer.
Mark Thomas was born in 1987 to Larry and Becky Thomas and was raised in Hardin County on his parent’s farm. From an early age, he knew he was called to the same life as his parents and grandparents before him.
Mark graduated from Central Hardin High School in 2005 and went on to get a degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Kentucky. Mark is married to Wesley, who also has deep farming roots in the community. She was born in 1994 and raised on a farm in Howe Valley. She is a 2012 graduate of Central Hardin High School and graduated from Western Kentucky University where she completed her degree in Nursing. In 2018 she re-enrolled at the University of Cincinnati where she completed her master’s degree and currently works as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for Norton’s Children’s Hospital. She and Mark have one daughter, Jules, who was born in 2020.
Farming is a family affair as Mark and Wesley work together with his parents on the farms they own separately – MW Thomas Farms and BLT Farms. Together they farm over 2000 acres of corn, soybeans, hay, beef cattle and sweet corn.
Mark is very involved in the community, particularly as a strong advocate for area farmers and the farming profession. His involvement has included the Hardin County Farm Bureau board, Hardin County Ag Development board, Hardin County Cooperative Extension Council, FFA, 4-H, the Growing Forward Advisory Council, and Farm Credit Advisory Council. He also served as president of the Kentucky Young Farmer’s Association and is active in the Farm Bureau Young Farmers.
In October of this year, Mark and Wesley were selected as Outstanding Young Farm Family by Kentucky Farm Bureau.
Reflecting on the life of farming that he has experienced so far, he understands that much has changed. He remembers his father and grandfather saying that if you want to make money on corn, you have to feed it to an animal first. Now, Mark says, a good living can be made on row crops because of the advancements in technology, science and equipment. Looking ahead, he expects the future to bring even more changes, which he is ready to embrace.
New technology is something Mark is proud to have helped integrate into his family’s operations. It has allowed them to look deeper into the land and understand it in a way not possible before. He has also excelled at a very different form of technology. Mark started a Tik Tok account @ThomasFarms which has gained an impressive following. His videos and stories of experiences on the farm help a younger generation connect with the work they do.
Even with Mark’s embrace of the future of farming, he is aware of how important his family roots in the local farming community are. While he says that history means a lot to him, he admits it brings extra pressure to carry on the legacy. His goal is to expand on the groundwork that they laid and offer a future to the next generation. More than anything, Mark says, he hopes to make his family proud.