July 11, 2022 | By: Aimee Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

According to a report from Agricultural Economic Insights, the United States imported $1.75 million in fresh cut flowers in 2021. Yet, Kentucky farms are the perfect place to grow flowers. The Kentucky Horticulture Council and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service are designating July as a month-long celebration for Kentucky fresh-cut flower growers.  

Kentucky Horticulture Council executive director Cindy Finneseth said the state is home to more than 125 commercial cut-flower operations.  

“The number of farmer-florists continues to increase each year, with a 20% increase just in the past year,” Finneseth said. “Selling through local retail and wholesale markets can be profitable for small-to-large-scale growers. We continue to see demand for locally grown products in both urban and rural areas, and our flower farms are growing high-quality, diverse products to meet that demand.” 

Warren County Extension horticulture agent Kristin Hildabrand enjoys putting a spotlight on the state’s flower growers.  

“Kentucky cut flower growers offer a wide variety of unique plant material from fresh to dried in the form of buds, flowers, stems, colorful budding branches, seed heads and stalks throughout the different growing seasons,” she said. “There is always room on your table to have fresh, locally-grown flowers. 

To help Kentuckians find local flower operations, the Kentucky Horticulture Council and horticulture agents with the UK Cooperative Extension Service partnered with the UK Center for Crop Diversification in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment to produce an interactive, online map at https://uk-horticulture.github.io/KY-Cut-Flowers/.   

“It has been great to see the growth that cut flowers have had in recent years in Kentucky’s horticulture industry,” said Alexis Sheffield, Boyle County Extension horticulture agent. "No longer are we seeing just a few zinnias at a farmer’s market booth but an increase in commercial farms, solely dedicated to producing cut flowers and making a living doing it. Kentucky is home to some large-scale farms that exemplify the diversity of agriculture across the state.” 

To learn more about promotional activities during cut flower month, follow the Kentucky Horticulture Council on Facebook, @KYHortCouncil; Instagram, @KYHorticulture or on Twitter, @KYHorticulture. For questions, contact Finneseth at cindy@hkyhortcouncil.org.  

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