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Farm country: Kentucky agriculture keeps moving forward

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Agriculture remains a vital part of Kentucky's economy and has shown growth over the last five years, according to a report issued on Thursday by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

With 69,425 farms dotting Kentucky's landscape and more than 12.4 million of the state's 25 million acres dedicated to some form of farming, it's evident Kentucky's roots are strongly agricultural. These numbers were just some of the statistics that came out of the recently released 2022 Census of Agriculture.

"It's no surprise agriculture is still very much a part of what makes Kentucky so special," Agriculture Commissioner Jonathan Shell said. "The numbers released by the Census solidifies Kentucky's agricultural hold. We know agriculture is a large part of our history, but these numbers show it is also moving our future forward."

The data released for Kentucky shows a large growth in agricultural production at $8 billion, up nearly 40 percent from 2017 figures. The market value of livestock and poultry sold in 2022 was $4.2 billion and the market value of crops sold was nearly $3.8 billion. Net cash farm income in 2022 was $2.4 billion, a 56 percent increase over 2017.

The market value of specific agricultural commodities sold in 2022 included:

--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 increases in 2022 were despite Kentucky recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, tornadoes in Western Kentucky and flooding in the East.

"These factors combined to create economic hardships for those across the state, including our agriculture community," Shell stated. "Despite these setbacks, the strength and essential nature of agriculture shines through with the reported Census numbers. The resiliency of farmers across our state and nation provides a stability we all rely on."

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