Suits and Boots at the new Bluegrass

Recently, the Bulls of the Bluegrass Sale celebrated their 20th anniversary producing and marketing Simmental and SimAngus bulls. The group of breeders who make up this group of consignors are all from Kentucky, and support Agriculture and the beef industry in our state. As the group considered making some changes on their location, and they felt the best place to partner with to market bulls was the new Bluegrass Regional Marketplace in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The Bluegrass Regional Marketplace is led by Jim Akers. History lesson: Jim Akers managed Triple J Farms in Paris, Kentucky, and the Belles/Bulls of the Bluegrass Sale was first held there. Speaking at the beginning of sale, Akers commented on history with the group, and how his path had came full circle with the group. He was happy to welcome them to the new Bluegrass Stockyards.

In case you aren’t from Kentucky or don’t know, the Bluegrass Stockyards caught fire in January 2016, and was a total loss. Fast forward to September 2017, a new state of the art Agricultural center was opened in Lexington taking the word “stockyards” to a whole new level. Not only is the new Bluegrass Regional Marketplace a stockyards, but it also features retail space, and a first class restaurant.

First is Hayden’s. Can we say hello yummy food! Let me tell you, order the breakfast. Order all the breakfast especially the South on a Plate. Hayden’s is open from 7:00 am to 3pm, and feature evening specials on Thursday for fried chicken and Friday for a fish fry. Perhaps what I think showcases the beautiful diversity that the new Bluegrass Regional Marketplace brings is when you sit down for a meal at Haydens. As we sat there for lunch on a Thursday afternoon, the dining room was packed; packed with farmers, families, business people in suits, and those “city folk” you don’t usually see at a stockyards. It was an amazing example of how everyone was gathered in a place of Agriculture without even knowing it. 

After you finish your meal, you can wander around the hallways of the facility. You might be able to take in a cattle sale, shop at stores selling meat or western wear, browse the Bluegrass Stockyards Museum, or learn from the Learning Center perfect for engaging the budding Agriculture leaders. The walls are lined with beautiful photographs from my friend and fellow Paris resident Bobby Shiflet of Frames on Main. His photos bring to light many of the wonderful aspects of Agriculture in Kentucky including beef, equine, and bourbon.

It’s easy to walk through the facility and forget you are at a stockyards, but the amount of regular, everyday people who enter the doors is astounding. Not only is the new Bluegrass Regional Marketplace an ideal place for hosting livestock sales, but it is a talking point for bringing Agriculture to the forefront of the conversation in Kentucky to both agricultural and non-agricultural parties. A quote says that a candle that lights another candle never burns out, but in this case the flames that brought down the original Bluegrass Stockyards ignited the bright future for a new Agricultural community in Kentucky.

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