Year Inducted: 

Alice Baesler

Alice Woods Baesler, of Lexington, received her degree in home economics from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 1963 before embarking on a lifelong journey influencing issues and programs that affect agriculture.

Her career began as a junior high school family and consumer sciences teacher then she switched to private industry to work as a dining and banquets manager for a local hotel. She went on to be a full-time farm manager when her husband, Scotty, was elected to Congress. She continues to be a partner and active farmer today. She and her husband farm more than 400 acres, and in 2016, she became one of the first women in Kentucky to obtain a license to grow hemp.

In 1985, she joined the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and led the Agriculture in the Classroom program. Baesler worked for the KDA for the next eight years. During that time, she travelled to two international meetings to discuss how to incorporate agriculture into the classroom.

She was also a leader on farm labor issues, and she served on many task forces including the Kentucky Consortium for Hispanics/Latinos, Migrant Network Coalition, Kentucky Farm Workers Program and Kentucky Farm Labor Task Force.

In the 1990s, Kentucky was facing a reduction of tobacco in the farm economy. To examine options and to understand the role women play in agriculture and could play as Kentucky’s farm economy transitioned, she co-sponsored the first Women in Agriculture conference in Kentucky. This led to the co-founding of the Kentucky Women in Agriculture organization in 1999.

Baesler’s long list of activities and service include appointment to the U.S. Burley Tobacco Advisory Council by the U.S. secretary of agriculture. She was a member of the Governor’s Commission on Family Farms, Governor’s Commission of the Economic Status of Women, Kentucky Partners for Family Farms, Kentucky Tobacco Research Board and the Council for Burley Tobacco. She was president of the National Agricultural Women’s Leadership Network, a federation of 12 national women’s agricultural and rural organizations representing more than 1 million members.

She continues to give back to her alma mater and to the community. She has served as a 4-H leader, chair of the Bluegrass Area Extension Council, vice president of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Library Board, Lindsey Wilson College trustee and Kentucky Board of Education member.

Her many honors include the Thomas Poe Cooper Distinguished Farm Leadership Award, UK’s Human and Environmental Sciences Centennial Laureate Award and the Kentucky Women in Agriculture’s Laura Clay Award.