Census shows Kentucky ag sales at $4.82 billion

Kentucky farmers took in $4.82 billion from the sale of farm products in 2007, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. That’s an average of $56,586 per farm and a 57 percent increase over the last census in 2002.

“Kentucky farmers really outdid themselves in 2007,” Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. “They achieved $4.82 billion in sales while tobacco income was 22 percent lower than in the previous census. That shows Kentucky’s investments in agricultural diversification are working.”

Leland Brown, director of the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, pointed out that the sales number includes multiple sales of livestock, such as sales of cattle between farmers and then from the farmer to the stockyard.

The number of tobacco farms in Kentucky declined 72 percent since 2002 to 8,113, according to the census. Tobacco acres harvested fell 21 percent from 2002. The federal tobacco quota and price support system was eliminated after the 2004 growing season.

The census showed that slightly fewer people farmed slightly more acres in Kentucky in 2007 than in 2002. Eighty-nine percent of Kentucky’s 85,260 agricultural operations are still run by individuals or families, and most are still small farms. The number of farms declined 1 percent from 2002, but the size of farms increased 1 percent from an average of 160 to 164 acres.

The number of full-time farmers in Kentucky dropped from 54 percent in 2002 to 40 percent in 2007. The average age of farm operators was 56.5 years old, up from 55.2 in 2002.

Twenty-seven percent of agricultural producers were women in 2007, and the number of women who were principal operators increased 10 percent from 2002. African American principal operators dropped from 687 to 505 in the five years after 2002.

Fayette County led the state in equine sales at nearly $410 million and led every U.S. state in that category.

Kentucky continues to have the largest beef cow inventory east of the Mississippi River, numbering 1.17 million head. Total cattle inventory was reported at 2.4 million head, same as 2002.

For more information, visit the Web site for the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Kentucky office, www.nass.usda.gov/ky, and click on “Census of Agriculture for Kentucky.”

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