FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles encourages all Kentuckians to celebrate Kentucky’s agriculture community on National Ag Day today and all week long during National Ag Week.
“It’s important to realize during National Ag Week that Kentucky’s 75,000 farm families are responsible for more than 352,000 jobs and $45.86 billion of economic output in the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles. “As our nation and state mobilizes to fight the coronavirus pandemic, so are our farmers and agribusinesses. During this critical time, the Kentucky farmer will continue producing the food and fiber our state, our country, and our world needs to survive.”
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 352,120 jobs, $10.47 billion in wages, $12.10 billion in taxes, and $1.12 billion in exports.
- Kentucky Proud, the official state agricultural marketing program, is a national model with more than 8,000 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’s rapidly growing bourbon industry is responsible for $8.6 billion in annual economic output and an estimated 20,100 jobs, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association has reported. More than half of distiller’s grain purchases are made 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 more than 1 million beef cows.
- 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.
- Kentucky ranked in the top 15 states in production of corn, soybeans, cattle, hay, and winter wheat in 2017.
“As our farmers are supporting everyone during this pandemic, it is important that consumers return the favor and support our farmers,” 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.”