FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles encourages all Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky’s agriculture community during National Agriculture Week, all week long.
“Kentucky’s gently rolling hills, rich, fertile soils, and temperament climates allow for bountiful harvests and superior yields. It’s as if this state was made for farming,” Commissioner Quarles said. “During National Agriculture Week we honor and recognize Kentucky’s 74,100 farm families responsible for more than 684,547 jobs and $111.3 billion of economic output in the state.”
Kentucky ranks sixth in the nation for the number of farms. Those farms take up more than 13 million acres on Kentucky’s 25.4 million acres of land, meaning more than half of Kentucky land is farm land.
Here are a few ways in which agriculture grows Kentucky’s economy:
- According to a report from Feeding The Economy, the economic impact of Kentucky agriculture is responsible for 684,547 jobs, $30 billion in wages, $10.4 billion in taxes, and $1 billion in exports, with an overall output of $111.3 billion, reflecting the direct and indirect economic benefits of Kentucky agriculture.
- Kentucky Proud, the official state agricultural marketing program, is a national model with more than 11,000 members and millions of dollars of new income for Kentucky family farms and small businesses.
- Kentucky Cattlemen’s Ground Beef, a project of the Kentucky Beef Council, is sold in Kroger supermarkets across the Commonwealth and in Tennessee. Kroger has sold more than 1 million pounds of Kentucky Cattlemen’s Ground Beef.
- Kentucky is home to 95 percent of the bourbon industry. That industry is responsible for $9 billion in annual economic output, an estimated 22,500 jobs with a $1.23 billion annual payroll. More than 75 percent of corn used by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association members comes from Kentucky farms.
- Kentucky’s world-famous equine industry generates $3.4 billion in economic activity a year and accounts for an estimated 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the Kentucky Equine Education Project.
- Kentucky is the leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River with nearly 1 million beef cows as of Jan. 1.
- Kentucky boasts two recently upgraded, state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostic laboratories – the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lexington and the Breathitt Veterinary Center, which is attached to Murray State University, in Hopkinsville.
- Poultry and eggs are Kentucky’s leading agricultural commodity with more than $1 billion in farm gate cash receipts a year.
- Kentucky is No. 1 in the nation in production of burley tobacco, dark fire-cured tobacco, and dark air-cured tobacco. The state ranks second in total tobacco production.
- Kentucky ranked in the top 15 states in production of corn, soybeans, cattle, and winter wheat in 2017.
“These numbers show Kentucky is rich in agriculture,” Quarles said. “I urge everyone to support Kentucky farm families by buying Kentucky Proud if they can, whether that is shopping from a Farmer’s Market or grabbing pick-up from a Kentucky Proud restaurant. If you like to eat, thank a Kentucky farmer, during National Ag Week and all year long.”
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture