Year Inducted: 

James MahanJames “Jim” Mahan, of Lexington, has been an active and important part Kentucky agriculture since his youth. After receiving his degree in animal science from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture in 1967, Mahan devoted his life to his farm, family, youth and agriculture.

One of Mahan’s nominators noted how his selfless service to Kentucky agriculture and the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is characterized by the youth he’s impacted and the programs and infrastructure he’s put into place that will have positive impacts for generations to come.

From opening his farm and sharing it for many years with the local 4-H sheep club, to giving countless hours to 4-H programs, agents and youth, Mahan has been an advocate for youth leadership and for agriculture. He served on the 4-H Council, assisted in fairs, lamb and horse shows, tractor contests, livestock judging team, served as a project leader and on state and county extension councils and worked with legislators on behalf of the college. Mahan helped raise funds for the Kentucky 4-H Leadership Center. 

Through his affiliation with the Lexington Lion’s Club, Mahan was a key leader in reviving agriculture’s role at the Bluegrass Fair at Masterson Station Park. He also provided leadership and financial support for the construction of the Ag Pavilion at the park which hosts many agricultural events throughout the year.

Mahan’s perseverance and dedication is credited by many for taking the idea of a high school devoted to agriculture and its related careers and seeing it through to completion. The result of his efforts is Fayette County’s Locust Trace AgriScience Farm and school which opened in 2011.  At Locust Trace, students have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of agriculture, equine studies and veterinary science.

Mahan serves on the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board having been appointed and then reappointed by two governors. The board distributes state monies received from the federal tobacco settlement for the general purpose of agricultural development in the state.

Mahan has received the Gamma Sigma Delta alumnus award, UK Animal Science Hall of Fame, Thomas Poe Cooper Distinguished Leadership Award, the first Distinguished Service Award from the National Agriculture Alumni and Development Fund, Distinguished and Dedicated Service of Kentucky Farm Bureau award, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager’s Club Outstanding Thoroughbred Farm Manager and numerous other awards.

He has served on Cooperative Extension boards and councils; county and state Farm Bureau boards, including serving a term as president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau from 1979-1980. He is a member of the UK Ag & HES Alumni Association and served as president in 1987. He is a member of the Lions Club, the Scovell Society and a UK Fellow.