Interview with John W. Koon, June 10, 1985
Project: University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJohn William Koon was born in rural Caldwell County, Kentucky. He recalls attending grade school in a one-room school house, and states that he graduated from Fredonia High School in 1928. Koon lived in the rural part of Kentucky for nearly all of his life until he moved to Louisville to work with the Kentucky Farm Bureau. Koon attended Western Kentucky University where he received his B.S. in Agriculture in 1937. He also received a Master's degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Kentucky. Koon states that he has always been involved with 4-H and Cooperative Extension to some degree, and remembers that the county agricultural agent in Caldwell County, Johnny Graham, encouraged his father to improve his farming techniques.
Koon worked for the Kentucky Farm Bureau from 1949 until 1979. He began working for the Farm Bureau as a Commodity Director. His job consisted of working with the commodity communities in areas like tobacco, dairy, and livestock, and lobbying for programs that the Farm Bureau felt would be good for agriculture. Koon later served as Executive Secretary of the Farm Bureau for twenty-four years.
Koon provides some historical information on the Farm Bureau and states that the service was established in Kentucky in 1919. He explains that the Kentucky Farm Bureau was one of the first state farm bureaus affiliated with the American Farm Bureau. Koon also talks about the "Kentucky Farm Bureau law," which authorized county Farm Bureaus to compel county fiscal courts to employ a county agricultural extension agent. Koon describes Kentucky's association with the Southern States Cooperative began in the early 1940s. He talks about the establishment of the substation at Princeton.
Koon compares farm life in 1949 when he first started working for the Farm Bureau to farm life in 1985. He talks about the food surplus in the United States, and the land grant colleges and their research and experimentation for the surplus. Koon describes cooperative movements which were formed with the help of the extension service. Koon discusses how the Kentucky Farm Bureau developed programs and services to encourage farm families to join the Farm Bureau including insurance and group purchasing programs.
Koon talks about his work with UK's Cooperative Extension Service. He describes ways that the Farm Bureau and the Cooperative Extension Service have worked together to improve agriculture in Kentucky. He talks about his disappointment with changes in 4-H Club programs, and states that he feels that the forestry program at the University of Kentucky could be improved. He describes working closely and socializing with University of Kentucky faculty and the staff of the Cooperative Extension Service, mentioning, Deans Horlacher, Seay, and Welsh in particular. Koon talks about his activities since his retirement, mentions his family, and discusses recognition he has received from the College of Agriculture for his service.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Koon, John W. Interview by Mike Duff. 10 Jun. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Koon, J.W. (1985, June 10). Interview by M. Duff. University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Koon, John W., interview by Mike Duff. June 10, 1985, University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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