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Agricultural Census Shows Increase of Female Farmers in Kentucky and First Count of Veterans


The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its five-year census of farms across the nation on April 11 with data on acreage, economic value and demographics about decision-makers. 

The new USDA Census of Agricultureshows that farming is a $5.7 billion industry in Kentucky. That’s up from $5.1 billion compared to five years earlier.

Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the new census shows that farming is vibrant in the state, with the number of producers at 124,000, an increase of nearly 10 percent over five years.

Quarles pointed out new data on women who are decision-makers on farms.  

"We have more females than ever running farms in Kentucky, which is something that I knew all along, but the statistics confirm it,” said Quarles.

The new census shows that Kentucky has about 43,000 female producers, an increase of 11,000 over a five-year period.

The new USDA census has, for the first time, data on how many military veterans are farming. The census found that 13,000 people in Kentucky who have served in the military are involved in agriculture.

Quarles said Kentucky agriculture is on a firm foundation because of its diversity of products. About half of the state’s farm income is from crops and the other half from livestock.      

"Kentucky grows everything from apples to zucchinis and everything in between,” said Quarles.

The Bluegrass State has 76,000 farms, down from 77,000 five years ago, although the number of producers has increased nearly 10 percent. 

The new USDA Census of Agriculture released April 11, 2019 is based on data collected from farmers for the 2017 calendar year. The previous census used as a five-year comparision is based on 2012 data.

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