2017 Ag Census Shows $5.74 Billion in Market Value of Kentucky Ag Products, Nearly 76,000 Farms
Five-Year Count Shows More Corn, Soybeans, and Hogs
LOUISVILLE (April 30, 2019) — Kentucky farmers produced more agricultural products on fewer farms and slightly less land in 2017, the most recent Census of Agriculture revealed. The 2017 Census of Agriculture was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and released in April.
“The Ag Census is a snapshot of a Kentucky agriculture industry in transition,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Commodities shifted positions during the period between the 2012 Census and the 2017 Census as a result of market forces, weather, and other factors. Overall, the industry continued to grow, and headwinds such as farmland loss and the aging of the Kentucky farmer showed signs of leveling off. It’s an exciting time to be in agriculture in Kentucky.”
Among Kentucky highlights in the 2017 Census of Agriculture:
• Kentucky had 75,966 farms in 2017, 1,098 (1.4 percent) fewer than in the previous ag census in 2012. Kentucky producers farmed 12.96 million acres in 2017, down 0.7 percent from 2012. The average size of a Kentucky farm was 171 acres.
• The market value of Kentucky agricultural products sold in 2017 totaled $5.74 billion, up 13.2 percent from 2012. Government payments to Kentucky farmers in 2017 amounted to $126.7 million, down 25.4 percent from the previous census.
• Net cash farm income was $1.58 billion in 2017, a 78.9 percent increase over the census in 2012, a year marked by a drought that severely damaged Kentucky’s corn and soybean crops and forced many livestock producers to reduce their herds.
• The market value of crops sold in 2017 was $2.54 billion, and the market value of livestock sold totaled $3.2 billion.
• The 2017 Kentucky corn crop of 220 million bushels was more the double the crop in the drought year of 2012. The 2017 soybean crop of 96.7 million bushels was 71.2 percent higher than the 2012 crop.
• Kentucky’s tobacco crop totaled 173.9 million pounds in 2017, 5.4 percent lower than the 2012 crop.
• The winter wheat crop in 2017 was 26.4 million bushels, 9.1 percent lower than in 2012.
• Kentucky poultry producers sold 289.2 million broilers in 2017, 5.3 percent fewer than in 2012.
• Kentucky had 38,657 cattle farms (down 3.7 percent from 2012) and an inventory of nearly 2.16 million cattle (down 5.1 percent) in 2017.
• In 2017, Kentucky’s inventory of hogs and pigs totaled 415,702, an increase of 32.7 percent.
• The average age of the Kentucky farmer in 2017 was 56.2 years, up from 55.6 years in 2012.
• The number of female farmers in Kentucky totaled 42,946 in 2017, a 36.7 percent increase from 2012.
• The 2017 Ag Census found 12,998 Kentucky producers who are military veterans or who were serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of the census. The category was added for the 2017 census.
The Census of Agriculture provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches every five years. It is the leading source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county or county equivalent. Census of agriculture data are routinely used by agriculture organizations, businesses, state departments of agriculture, elected representatives and legislative bodies at all levels of government, public and private sector analysts, the news media, and colleges and universities. To find out more about the Census of Agriculture, go to nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
The NASS Kentucky field office is operated in cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.