Quick Facts about Kentucky Agriculture

Agriculture sustained the first settlers of Kentucky in the 1770s, and the business of raising crops and livestock continues to be the backbone of rural Kentucky today. Kentucky is home to a wide variety of agriculture production, from horses and beef cattle to tobacco and corn. Agriculture in Kentucky, nicknamed the Bluegrass State, is constantly changing to keep up with consumer demand and the ever-growing world population. 

Due to the tobacco buy-out in 2004, many producers have diversified their operations to include new ventures, such as poultry, aquaculture, horticulture, etc. 

Kentucky is home to 76,000 farms, from large to small. 

Kentucky's top agricultural enterprises are (ranking based on cash receipts in 2016):

  • Poultry
  • Horses
  • Soybeans
  • Corn
  • Cattle

The average farm size in Kentucky is 170 acres, compared to the national average of 435 acres.

Of Kentucky’s 25.4 million acres, 51% is farmland, accounting for 13 million acres.

Kentucky agriculture is dominated by small family farms. More than 57 percent of its farms (about 43,700) have annual sales of less than $10,000.

Kentucky agricultural cash receipts set a record $6.5 billion in 2014, but fell to $5.4 billion in 2016. The decreased receipts the past few years have been a result of lower cattle sales and lower grain prices.