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U.S. Census of Agriculture reports growth for Kentucky food producers

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports a 40 percent growth in Kentucky’s agricultural production since 2017.

That’s according to its Census of Agriculture, which is taken every five years. The Department released its 2022 findings last week.

The census reports the combined market value of every agricultural product sold that year totals up to a little more than $8 billion, up from $5.7 billion five years prior.

Net cash income also grew by 56 percent, or an average of $35 million for each farm.

That’s despite a decrease in the number of farms across the Commonwealth. Around 7,000 less farms across Kentucky were operating in 2022 compared to 2017, from 75,966 farms to 69,425.

The market value of specific products solid in 2022 includes:

  • Poultry and eggs – $1.79 billion, up 36 percent from 2017
  • Corn – $1.46 billion, up 76 percent
  • Soybeans – $1.38 billion, up 48 percent
  • Cattle – $1.08 billion, up 8 percent
  • Equine - $736 million, up 58 percent
  • Wheat – $262 million, up 133 percent
  • Milk – $233 million, up 40 percent
  • Tobacco – $225 million, down 36 percent
  • Hogs and pigs – $207 million, up 61 percent

The National Agricultural Statistics Service says that data might include sales from crops produced in earlier years, or crops produced in 2022 but put into storage and not sold.
The census also reports that Kentucky’s farmers are getting slightly older - the average age of producers rose from 56.2 years old in 2017 to 57.1 in 2022. The average size of Kentucky farms has also increased by 4.7 percent.

The top five counties for the number of farms include Barren County, Pulaski County, Warren County, Shelby County and Grayson County.

The full report can be viewed online.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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