Nearly 1,600 people gathered for breakfast at the Kentucky State Fair this week and to participate in the 49th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Auction. When the auctioneer’s gavel dropped on the grand champion ham, Mark Lynn & Associates of Louisville had the winning bid at $300,000. The 17.62-lb. ham was entered by Scott Hams of Greenville, KY.

It is customary for the proceeds to be donated to the winning bidder’s charity of choice. Mark Lynn announced the charitable donation would be given to the University of Louisville, Visually Impaired Preschool Services and Eastern Area Community Ministries. He also indicated that the grand champion ham would go to Wayside Christian Mission.

“Supporting anything that goes on in this state is critical,” Lynn says. “We have been very, very fortunate in our life, we have been blessed, and it is time to give back. That’s what we chose to do here today.”

Kentucky Farm Bureau has now helped raise more than $6.5 million for local charities, educational and philanthropic groups through the 49-year history of the auction.

“There are few events in Kentucky that can rival the excitement of the grand champion ham auction,” explains Mike Tobin, Kentucky Farm Bureau’s commodity director and ham breakfast event coordinator. “The fact that we get to do all this to the benefit of local charities only makes it that much better.”

In 1964, at the first ham auction, the winning bid was a modest $124 for the champion ham. The event has become increasingly popular in recent years.