Kentucky Ag News


Local food sales rake in $65 million


National Agricultural Statistics Service


LOUISVILLE - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its results for the first-ever nationwide Local Food Marketing Practices Survey in December. The survey was designed to collect data related to the marketing of foods directly from farms and produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the United States.


In 2015, 3,227 Kentucky farms reported direct farm sales of food, including value-added products, bringing in a combined $65,430,475.

“Kentucky has made tremendous progress in recent years to develop a dynamic local food system through Kentucky Proud and other initiatives,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This report shows how far we have come, but it also shows that we have plenty of room to grow. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s marketing office will continue to seek new markets for Kentucky farm products in Kentucky, across the nation, and around the world.”

A further breakdown of data shows:

Direct Farm Sales*

Total farms, excluding value-added products: 1,651

Total sales, excluding value-added products: $20,451,622

Total farms, only value-added products: 1,926

Total sales, only value-added products: $44,978,853


Direct to Consumer Sales**

Total farms, including value-added products: 2,574

Total sales, including value-added products: $35,035,819


“The data show us there is a tremendous growth potential for Kentucky farmers to raise and sell directly to the consumer market,” said David Knopf, director for NASS’s Eastern Mountain Regional Field Office in Kentucky. “Only about four percent of the farms are directly marketing their products. With commodity prices at levels which make it challenging for farmers to receive profitable returns, direct sales may be one way for growers to capture more of the food dollar.”

In the United States 167,009 farms reported selling $8.7 billion in edible food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions and local distributors.

*Direct farm sales of food (crops and livestock raised on Kentucky farms) includes farms selling to:

  • Institutions and intermediary businesses (schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, wholesalers, processors, distributors)
  • Retailers (grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, food cooperatives)
  • Direct to consumers


**Direct to consumer sales, a subset of direct farm sales, include:

  • Farmers markets, onsite farm stores, roadside stands, Community Supported Agriculture arrangements, online sales, pick-your-own operations, and mobile markets.


Sales categories include both fresh food and value-added products (edible processed foods) such as bottled milk, cheese, meat, jam, cider, and wine.

For a full breakdown of all the data, visit For more information, call the NASS Kentucky Field Office at (800) 928-5277.