This week is National Agriculture Week. It’s a great time to think about the importance of Indiana and Kentucky’s regional farmers and their contribution to the supply of fresh, local meat and produce to our grocery stores and restaurants.
In an article on WDRB.com, Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney says, “Generations ago, most families in Kentucky had a connection to farming, but that’s no longer the case, and all people, particularly young people, should understand the important role of agriculture.”
- Kentucky had 85,000 farms in 2008 with and an average size 164 acres.
- Indiana is best known for its soybean, corn, and pork production. Indiana is the 3rd largest soybean producing state in the US, producing 9.5% of the entire US soybean crop.
- In 2009, Kentucky set a record for farm income with $4.29 billion. Horses were the leading source of farm income for Kentucky farmers, followed by broilers, cattle, tobacco, soybeans and corn.
- Indiana ranks 4th in the production of corn for grain. On average, Indiana farmers harvest 884 million acres of corn a year.
- Kentucky still leads the nation in burley tobacco production. The state is second in the U.S. in total tobacco production and is in the top 20 in corn, soybeans, winter wheat, hay, barley and sorghum.
- There are about 3.1 million hogs in Indiana, accounting for 5.4% of the nation’s pork supply.
- Kentucky is the leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River and is eighth in the nation overall.
- Over 6% of all the watermelons grown in the US every year are grown in Indiana.
- Kentucky is seventh in broilers and in the top 20 in goats, dairy cows, swine, and chickens other than commercial broilers.
- The first commercial winery in the U.S. was established in the early 1800s in Indiana. Indiana has 31 wineries in operation.
With those statistics in mind, learn more about Louisville Farm to Table’s (LFtT) initiative. Its mission is to increase the capacity of the local food system by working to increase production, marketing, distribution and sales of Kentucky edible agriculture products and to meet the demand of Louisville’s market for local foods.
Our region also boasts Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. The farmer will offer a certain number of “shares” to the public such as a box of vegetables. Consumers purchase a share (membership or subscription) and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Read more about CSA here. If you’re interested about getting involved and purchasing a CSA membership, check out some of the opportunities in our region.
And last but not least, here are some things you can do this weekend in celebration of National Agriculture Week: