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Kentucky farms set record for sales at $8 billion for 2022

Horses grazed at Calumet Farm on Versailles Road near New Circle Road in Lexington, Ky., Friday, April 28, 2017.

Horses grazed at Calumet Farm on Versailles Road near New Circle Road in Lexington, Ky., Friday, April 28, 2017.

Despite drought, floods, tornadoes, labor issues and more, Kentucky farmers are likely to see record sales of close to $8 billion, according to the annual University of Kentucky agricultural economic forecast.

The 2022 receipts will surpass the previous 2021 record high of $6.9 billion, UK economists predicted on Thursday.

“Adjusted for inflation, our 2022 estimate, if achieved, will be 19% higher than the inflation-adjusted average over the previous 10 years,” said Will Snell, UK agricultural economist. “Even with record increases in input expenses and considerably lower government payments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farm income will be higher in 2022.”

Higher prices more than made up for lower yields in many crops, he said.

“While Kentucky benefited from relatively high national commodity prices, low levels on the Mississippi River adversely impacted local grain prices during harvest season due to limited grain flow,” Snell said in a news release. “Despite all those challenges, the Kentucky agricultural economy remained strong overall.”

Poultry is expected to retake the spot as the top Kentucky crop, with 20 percent of the overall Kentucky agriculture sales despite the avian flu and a tornado outbreak in Western Kentucky in December 2021 that destroyed a lot of chicken houses and industry infrastructure.

Poultry, including broiler chickens, was the top Kentucky cash crop in 2022. Steve Patton UK College of Agriculture

For 2022, soybeans and corn are expected to be 18 percent each of total Kentucky agriculture sales, followed by horses with 16 percent and cattle with 13 percent, according to the economists.

For 2023, Kentucky farmers are facing uncertainty over the war in Ukraine, inflation, interest rates and shortages, which could lead to greater volatility, Snell said.

Still, overall cash receipts and net income are expected to remain high but down slightly, Snell said.

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Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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