March 15, 2000 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Kentucky will take part in National Agriculture Week, March 19 through 25. Agriculture will be celebrated and emphasized in schools, local communities and state governments. It's a good time to learn how agriculture affects urban communities.

In Kentucky, and around the U.S., economies are complex systems of interdependent industries. Since changes in one industry, can affect one or all of the others, it's important to understand the economic importance of agriculture to Kentucky.

The department of agricultural economics at the University of Kentucky published some facts about Kentucky agriculture's impact on the state economy.

The report said that agricultural and livestock production accounts for 6.3 percent of Kentucky's 2.2 million workers, 2.9 percent of the state's personal income and 3.3 percent of gross state product.

When asked to list jobs related to agriculture, many urbanites would limit the list the farmers. But, agriculture is broad and far-reaching with jobs ranging from farmers to grocery retailers to agricultural loan officers and beyond.

Adding in the direct, indirect, and induced effects of the agricultural input industry (agrichemicals, farm machinery, etc.) agricultural processing (meat packing, rendering, milk processing, etc.) and forestry (logging, wood products, etc.) means this broader definition of agriculture accounts for 11.5 percent of employment, 8.4 percent of personal income, and 11.4 percent of the state's total economic activity.

"If you include food retailing in this analysis, the figures jump considerably," Larry Jones, UK agricultural economist, said. "With these figures, agriculture accounts for 20.8 percent of employment, 13.4 percent of personal income, and 16.4 percent of gross state product."

"Urban residents may think that agriculture doesn't really affect them," Jones noted. "However, a large number of jobs in Kentucky metro areas are dependent on agriculture. These jobs include employment in food processing and retail sectors of the food industry."

Jones said the agricultural impact on urban areas is significant. Activities and events such as Ag Week can help the public understand how agriculture affects them.

If you have any questions about Ag Week, or agriculture in general, please call your local Cooperative Extension Service office.


Larry Jones 606-257-7289