The Kentucky Soybean Board will host two open houses at its new office, located at 1000 U.S. Hwy 62 West in Princeton, on Tuesday, July 23, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Friday, August 2 from noon to 4 p.m.
"With success comes growth, and with growth comes a new set of needs," said Kentucky Soybean Board Chairman Ryan Bivens of Hodgenville. "We have experienced a great deal of growth over the years, and the office across the road no longer served our needs."
The soybean board moved to Princeton in 1993, and its farmer-leaders decided in 2017 to build a new, larger facility to better serve Kentucky's soybean growers. The Kentucky Soybean Association is also housed in the office, and the Association board has expanded several times since 1993 in order to provide more representation to farmers across the state.
The Promotion Board and Association host numerous meetings and producer education sessions, and the classroom area of the new building will enable these organizations to host these meetings in their own facility. Board meetings, which often include presentations of research proposals and findings, had recently been held elsewhere because the old facility was simply not adequate to hold board members, presenters and guests.
The new building sits directly across U.S. Highway 62 W in Princeton from the old location, which has been sold to Caldwell County Farm Bureau. Princeton remains an ideal location for the state office, as it is in the center of the state's soybean production. In addition, Princeton is home to the University of Kentucky's Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, where some of the state's soybean field research is conducted.
"We just can't say enough good things about i5 and M.P. Lawson," Ellis said. "Chad and his team came up with a vision and turned that vision into a workable, functional space, and contractor Mike Lawson and his crew, under the direction of Lyon County native Junior Hall, brought that vision to life."
The building is more than 9,000 square feet and includes five offices, which allows for growth, a spacious storage area and attached garage for the organization's vehicles, a conference room, workroom and break room/kitchenette. That's just on the east side. The west side of the building is a large meeting room that will hold 100 people classroom style, along with a modern kitchen for meal preparation/service and visitor restrooms. The two sides are joined by a lobby and reception area.
The building is true to its agricultural roots, with photos of soybean production from LaCenter to Winchester prominently featured. The large lobby mural is a collage of production and usage photos, and the builders were tasked with using as much soy as possible in the construction.
"We promote the many uses of soy to others," Ellis said, "so it was natural for us to use soy in our own building." She noted that the lavatory sinks feature soy composite and that the flooring throughout the facility contains soy-based backing. The paint contains soy polymers, and some of the cushions in the furnishings even boast soy foam.
All interested parties are encouraged to come tour the facility during the open houses.