Poultry becomes Kentucky's No. 2 money maker

Sunday, December 29, 2002

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In one year, poultry jumped to the No. 2 spot in top money makers for Kentucky farmers, bringing in $603.9 million last year, new figures show.

That was less than horses but more than tobacco, according to a newly published report of farm income for Kentucky and the nation.

Chicken, other poultry and their eggs had previously been ranked as the No. 4 money maker in total cash receipts for Kentucky producers.

The ranking might change as markets for various farm products rise and fall, but income from poultry is not likely to decline soon, a marketing expert said Thursday.

"I would not perceive poultry's total to go down," Mark Straw, deputy executive director for marketing in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said in an interview.

Kentucky's production of 253.4 million broilers -- chickens sold for meat -- was 10th in the nation for the year that ended Nov. 30, 2001, according to the report, "Kentucky Agricultural Statistics 2001-02."

Production was higher in six other states of the Southeast, where most poultry farming is done. Georgia was No. 1 with 1.2 billion broilers -- five times Kentucky's volume.

The $603.9 million in receipts from poultry accounted for 27 percent of livestock receipts and 17 percent of all farm receipts. The total was an increase of $136.5 million from the previous year.

"Kentucky is just becoming a bigger player in poultry," said Mark Helmkamp, a statistician at the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service, which helped to produce the report.

Horse sales drop

Sales of horses, including stud fees, generated $800 million in 2001. That was $200 million less than in 2000 but still accounted for 35 percent of livestock receipts and 22 percent of total farm receipts, the report said.

Tobacco sales ranked third behind poultry at $566.3 million, a $108 million decline from the previous year. Nevertheless, tobacco remained Kentucky's top cash crop and accounted for 16 percent of farm receipts.

Sales of all Kentucky farm products totaled $3.55 billion last year, a 3 percent decline from 2000. Of that total, livestock and their products generated $2.27 billion, a 4 percent decline. Crop sales were up slightly to $1.28 billion. Receipts for corn, soybeans, wheat and hay were above 2000 levels, though hay and corn prices were down, the report said.

Five counties -- Fayette, Woodford, Graves, Jessamine and Bourbon -- had farm cash receipts above $100 million during 2001. Broilers were the top money maker in Graves County. Horses accounted for the bulk of sales in the other four counties, the report said.

The report is produced by the state Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service.

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