Alice Baesler, co-founder of Women in Agriculture, dies


Alice Baesler, a co-founder of Kentucky Women in Agriculture whose career influenced many issues and programs in Kentucky Agriculture, died on Aug. 7 at the age of 82.

Baesler, a Lexington native and the wife of former Congressman Scotty Baesler, received her degree in home economics from the University of Kentucky in 1963. In the spring of 2018 she was inducted into the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Hall of Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor the college confers. 

She started her career as a teacher in Fayette County and served as a 4-H leader and long time supporter of Kentucky 4-H programs in the state. In addition, she served as chair of the Bluegrass Area Extension and was instrumental in the building of the Fayette County Extension Services offices. She joined the Kentucky Department of Agriculture where she led the Kentucky Agriculture in the Classroom program. 

For over 40 years she was an active partner in the Baesler tobacco farm operation and continued to farm until her death. She was also part of the state’s hemp research efforts. She was one of the first if not the first woman who was granted a hemp license to grow and process hemp oil in Kentucky’s hemp program. 

She served on many task forces including the Kentucky Consortium for Hispanics/Latinos, the Migrant Network Coalition, and the Kentucky Farm Workers Program. 

Baesler, along with her friend Bonnie Tanner, founded the organization Women in Agriculture, which is now over 20 years old and continues to emphasize the importance of women in Kentucky agriculture. 

She later worked in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture where she had the opportunity to travel to Cuba, encouraging sales of Kentucky products. 

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Henry Scott “Scotty” Baesler, her son Dudley Scott Baesler (Shelley) of Ponte Vedra, FL, her daughter Ashley Woods Baesler of Grand Junction, CO, her sister Margaret Reed Woods and her brother Robert Dudley Woods II, MD (Judy) both of Lexington. She is also survived by her grandchildren Fritts Youngman Baesler of Denver, CO, Adeline Woods Baesler of Nashville, TN and Presley Scout Baesler of Ponte Vedra, FL and a niece, Kelly Woods Shirley MD (Drew), a great niece Audrey Eleanor Shirley and a great nephew Samuel David Shirley, all of Lexington and brother-in-law Ronnie Baesler (Elaine) of Lexington.

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