Kentucky Ag News


Kentucky organic sales tripled, number of farms doubled in five years


National Agricultural Statistics Service


LOUISVILLE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its 2016 Certified Organic Production Report Sept. 20, from the survey conducted earlier this year. The survey queried all known USDA-certified organic farms across Kentucky.

“Production of organic crops and livestock continues to grow in Kentucky,” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “In fact, Kentucky rose two spots to 38th in the U.S. in total value of sales of certified organicallyproduced commodities in 2016. It’s a small portion of all agricultural products raised in the Commonwealth, but still very important growth for those certified farms.”

In 2016, Kentucky’s USDA-certified organic farms sold a total of $12.2 million in organically produced commodities, including $5.3 million in crops sales and $6.7 million in sales of livestock, poultry and their products. These numbers show overall growth since 2015 when Kentucky counted $9.4 million in total sales, with $3.4 million in crop sales, and $6 million in livestock, poultry and their products.

“Field crop sales recorded the largest percentage increase, while livestock sales grew at a slower pace,” Knopf said. “Corn sales nearly tripled from 2015, and tobacco increased 56 percent. Milk sales declined slightly, but were offset by an increase in egg sales.”

Milk led all sales totaling $4.5 million, or 37 percent of all sales. Second in sales is all vegetables, totaling $2.3 million. Eggs followed in third with $1.1 million, tobacco with $1.04 million, and corn rounding out the top five commodities in sales with $908,614. Average sales were $123,040 per farm, up from $108,977 in 2015.

“Sales per farm increased from last year by 13 percent,” Knopf noted. “Farms selling livestock and poultry products average $231,250, while those selling vegetables and field crops averaged $66,519 per farm.”

The 100 certified organic farms comprise 10,255 acres of land, up from 7,497 in 2015. Sixty-three percent, or 6,424 acres, is cropland, and 3,831 acres is in pasture.

“It’s encouraging to see sustained growth in the number of farms and value sales,” Knopf said. “Since 2011, sales have tripled and the number of certified farms has more than doubled.”

The 2016 Certified Organic Production Report provides acreage, production and sales data for a variety of certified organic crops and inventory and sales data for certified organic livestock commodities. The 2016 Certified Organic Production Survey included all known farm operators who produced certified organic crops and/or livestock.

To learn more about this and other NASS surveys and corresponding data in Kentucky, visit