A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Tim Farmer: Popular television host announces he is leaving KET’s Kentucky Afield program

By Glenn Osborne
KyForward sports editor

Popular outdoorsman, farmer, cooking enthusiast and musician Tim Farmer took to Facebook this week to announce he is retiring from his position with the Kentucky Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources and will be soon departing as host of the long-running Kentucky Afield program.

Farmer also appears on two other programs, Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen and Tim Farmer’s Homemade Jam, which his company produces. He said he will continue with those shows.

It has been a difficult year for Farmer and his wife, Nicki, who both experience health issues. Nicki Farmer is recovering from a broken neck suffered in an automobile accident earlier this year while Farmer, who took six weeks off to care for his wife, said he also experienced “a health issue that I am recuperating from.”

Although he will give up hosting Kentucky Afield on KET soon, Tim Farmer and his wife, Nicki, will continue to appear on his Country Kitchen show (Facebook Photo)

Although he will give up hosting Kentucky Afield on KET soon, Tim Farmer and his wife, Nicki, will continue to appear on his Country Kitchen show (Facebook Photo)

“During that time off, I made the hardest decision I ever made,” he said in a statement posted on the Kentucky Afield Facebook page. “I will step down and we will find that next host that will keep Kentucky Afield on the air waves for another 60 years or so.”

In addition to hunting and fishing, Farmer and his wife operate a farm in Franklin County. The Farmers are co-producers of the Country Kitchen program.

“I want to be closer to home,” the Carter County native added. “And farming has become a way of life for Nicki and I.”

Tim Farmer’s Country Kitchen
Kentucky Afield

Farmer lost the use of his right arm in 1984 in a motorcycle accident and he said he feels the pain more intensely during Kentucky’s winter months, which was also a factor in his decision.

“You will not hear me complain much,” he said, “but the nerve condition in my arm makes cold weather almost unbearable and that was part of the reason for this decision.”

Farmer has worked in state government for 31 years, including 27 with the Fish and Wildlife Department. He said he has been amazed by the impact it has had on hunting, fishing and wildlife population development during those three decades, greatly expanding opportunities for lovers of the outdoors.

“I remember hunting season opened on Aug. 15 when I was a kid and young adult,” he said. “Squirrel season, that was pretty much it growing up and hunting in Eastern Kentucky in the late 1970s. Now we are (in the) top five in Boone and Crockett deer, we have turkeys in every county and we have the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi.

“I watched our biologists, commissioners, techs, info folks and all employees work so hard to make theses things happen. As a fish tech, I observed the forward movement of the department with awe.”

In 1995, Farmer stepped in to host the popular Kentucky Afield program, the nation’s longest running show focusing on the outdoors. He is the program’s sixth host since the original program first aired on WAVE in Louisville in 1953 and he is the fourth since the show moved to statewide public television in 1985.

Despite not having the use of his arm, Tim Farmer is an active hunter and fisherman who hasn't let his disability slow him (KET Photo)

Despite not having the use of his arm, Tim Farmer is an active hunter and fisherman who hasn’t let his disability slow him (KET Photo)

Despite not having the use of his arm, Farmer continues to be an active hunter and fisherman who hasn’t let his disability slow him in pursuit of the lifelong activities he loves.

“It’s not really a distraction at all,” Farmer said on the KET website. “It’s simply how I and many Kentuckians must live our life. I’m just lucky to be in a position to share the joys of the outdoors with viewers around the state at the same time. Many have called me to ask how they can overcome physical barriers themselves to get back to enjoying the outdoors. For most, it wan’t as difficult as they thought.”

He also operates Tim Farmer Productions, which specializes in long- and short-form video productions, including audio and video commercials, documentaries, plus events and any type of advertising and marketing for business or personal use.

Farmer said his fans (he refers to his viewers as “family”) will still be able to keep up with him and his family through the other two programs. Farmer is also the father of two daughters and three stepchildren, some of whom have grown up on the show through occasional appearances. One stepdaughter, Kelli, is the co-executive producer/marketer/videographer/editor for the Country Kitchen program.

“We are not going away,” he added. “You can still find us in the Country Kitchen or doing a little picking and grinning on Homemade Jam. The viewers on the show weren’t viewers, they were and are friends.”

Kentucky Afield Timeline

1953 Kentucky Afield debuts on WAVE TV 3, Louisville with Ron Rhody hosting and Harry Towles, the KDFWR Director of Public Relations, delivering the weekly fishing report live in studio on Saturday mornings.

1957 Hope Carleton named host, a position he held for 23 years.

1980 Jeremy Dreier named host when Carleton retires.

1985 Dreier arranges a deal for Kentucky Educational Television to air the show statewide.

1988 Tim Michaels named host.

1989 Dave Shuffett becomes host and a magazine format is adopted.

1995 Tim Farmer named host when Shuffett becomes host of Kentucky Life.

Not surprisingly, Farmer said he will miss interacting on a regular basis with his colleagues who shared his enthusiasm for outdoor life.

“When I stepped in as host in the mid-’90s, I was lucky to become the guy who got to document the Department’s efforts,” he said. “along with the folks hunting and fishing around the state, who were real characters. I learned so much from them. Many of them have passed on, and I miss them every day. The one thing I have enjoyed most, is working with folks who enjoy their work. My bosses are my friends. Our producers are my brothers. Every year their work has improved the show.”

Farmer won’t be leaving the air immediately (the program airs on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on KET and repeats on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. and can also be viewed on YouTube). He will continue to shoot for a few more weeks.

“We still have some shows to shoot,” he said, “and I look forward to seeing you all ‘in the woods or on the water.'”

Read more: Everyday Heroes: Kentucky Afield’s Tim Farmer inspires after losing use of arm

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  1. Helen Williams says:

    I see that it’s ALWAYS about Tim Farmer and his dutiful wife looking like she is second to Tim. My very first time looking at this and found this very obvious.She looks like a great woman in many ways, but, I am not seeing accolades paid to her by Tim. I looked at about 6 episodes. He is his own package wrapped up and he wants it this way.

    • Nicki Farmer says:

      Wow Helen. This is Nicki Farmer, Tim’s ‘dutiful wife’. Your analysis is way off. First, I am not second. We are a team. He asked me to come on the show with him, even though I have had zero tv experience in the past. I am still not extremely comfortable on camera, but I enjoy our time together in the kitchen. If you haven’t noticed, Tim only has the use of his left arm due to a motorcycle accident. I enjoy helping him, and the most frequent thing folks say when we are approached by viewers is, ‘We love to see your relationship, and we can tell you all care for each other.’ Our daughter Kelli puts the show together. It is a family show. How dare you insult something you know nothing about. He asked me humbly to go on the show with him. It took a year for me to say yes. This show is his concept from the theme song he wrote to the recipes we share. I love helping him. And according to our viewers, they love us together.

      • Susie Smith says:

        Good for you Nikki. My husband and I have met you and Tim few years ago and I see nothing but a loving husband and wife team. You both are amazing. Nothing but love and gratitude

  2. Jackie Bowles says:

    I agree and this impression fits perfectly with his politics which I find abhorrent.
    A little of Tim goes a long way.

    • Jonsmith says:

      So true!! Overbearing ego and his poor wife just agrees with everything he says!! She needs to be his replacement!!

  3. Janet c Hoehler says:

    What do his politics have to do with a cooking show? Nikki had to be coaxed to do the show at
    all. She has become his “right hand” on the show. I think the show is great. Besides, why
    shouldn,t the show be about him? It is his show—or didn,t you read the title? TIM FARMERS

  4. Tim farmer is a good man and his wonderful beautiful wife is the perfect fit for the show a breath of fresh air seeing two people who love one another working together for the good of THIER viewers thank you Tim and Nikki for what you do

  5. Charles Spano says:

    Good luck tim and nikkie. Will follow you on u-tube.

  6. Tonia says:

    I love watching real kentuckians show how great this state is ,keep up the great work .

  7. Matthew Cloutier says:

    Dear Tim my name is Matthew Cloutier and I’ve been a fan of yours for quite some time I’m sorry to hear you’re departing Fish and Wildlife Game but I can understand your decision was based upon health reasons I wish you and Nikki the best

  8. Johnnie Brock says:

    Helen Williams ,Jackie Bowles and jonsmith SHAME ON YOU !!! Tim Farmer and his wife Nikki have a great family show. Every episode that I have watched is about cooking and trips they have taken that they are sharing with us the veiwers. Again I say SHAME ON YOU

  9. Patricia Metcalf says:

    I can’t believe some of the things I have just read about Tim Farmer in some of the comments . I agree with Nikki ” Shame On You People ” how dare you talk like that about him , once ignorant always ignorant. You would have had to watch more than one show to have come to that conclusion so if that’s how you people feel why did you keep watching them . I have never met either one of them although I have always wanted to but they are so loving and kind to each other and the people they have on their show and to their viewers that I feel like they are my close friends. I am a 69 year old woman and my health isn’t very good and Tim and Nikki bring me a lot of enjoyment watching them so Tim , Nikki keep doing what your doing exactly the way your doing it .My husband and I both love you dearly thank you for the joy you bring us

  10. Robert Hatton says:

    god bless you both.,great show! I love to cook with iron cookwear i am very envious of you. and hope your show goes on for years,.wish I had personal friends like you. pay no attention to negative people.

  11. Jerry McCombs says:

    would they consider adopting a 73 yr old grand ma ,great grandma….just love these people……

  12. Phyllis smith says:

    Tim,&nikki,y’all are great! I can’t get your show anymore,&i miss it,y’all both have beautiful hearts,don’t listen to negativity, from negative people……. wish the best,forget the rest,,,keep on keeping on.

  13. Barbara Carr says:

    Tim Farmer, I have watched ur KY Afield way back the I try to catch ur cooking show that I love. I enjoy when I tell about cooking deer. My X was a deer hunter plus rabbit, Squirrel,fish ,etc. we cooked together. Now since he moved on I do all the cooking but I enjoy every minute of ur shows. And thank u for including ur wife. That is how it should b. U both r great. May GOD bless and keep up the good work

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