2022 Kentucky equine survey launched

A decade after the last survey, officials in Kentucky seek to learn more about current conditions in the equine industry of the Bluegrass State.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC), in conjunction with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and other industry partners, will conduct a statewide equine survey in 2022.

Equestrian activities contribute an estimated $3 million dollars annually to economy of Kentucky.

The Aug. 20 announcement by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board provided a key piece of needed funding to help make the survey’s execution possible. The survey has also received support from the UK Gluck Equine Research Center and the Kentucky Farm Bureau. Additional industry support is needed for the work, which will be coordinated by Jill Stowe, a professor within UK’s Department of Agricultural Economics and equine industry economist, and implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.

It’s been a decade since UK Ag Equine Programs and KHC successfully partnered on a statewide equine survey, a critically needed study that helped provide a more accurate assessment of the number of horses (242,400) in Kentucky and their economic impact ($3 billion), two fundamental pieces of information that had been unavailable to those who needed it. Prior to the 2012 study, the last time a comprehensive look had been taken at Kentucky’s equine industry was in 1977, and an industry-wide economic impact study had never been conducted.

Fast forward 10 years from the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey, and a lot has changed in the state and within its signature industry. A follow-up study is needed to provide an accurate snapshot of the state’s equine industry and to identify changes that are happening over time.

“Data obtained from this study are important for the sustained strength and continued growth of Kentucky’s equine industry,” Stowe said. “Decision-makers such as entrepreneurs and business owners, equine health providers and policy makers can utilize this data to make sound, well-informed decisions on important issues facing the industry.”

“Sincerest thanks go out to the KHC, KADB, KTA/KTOB, Kentucky Farm Bureau and others for their support,” said Nancy Cox, vice president for land-grant engagement and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Without this support, there can be no accurate count of the animals that underpin a huge part of Kentucky’s agricultural economy.”

In addition to providing information about the number of horses in each county in Kentucky, their uses and the economic activity they generate, the study will also help provide critical data for disease surveillance, inform workforce development efforts and help identify emerging markets on which businesses can capitalize.

“As the KHC is a non-breed, non-discipline specific organization focused on the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community, the information gleaned from this survey will be invaluable,” said Sarah Coleman, KHC executive director. “We’re excited to learn more about the horses residing in the commonwealth and how we can better assist them and their owners.”

“Accurate and current data is the essential foundation that enables informed decisions and policies,” said James MacLeod, professor of veterinary science and director of UK Ag Equine Programs. “Accurate medical surveillance, agricultural policies, economic planning and governmental programs will all be empowered by this very important study.”

Click here to participate in the 2022 Kentucky Equine Survey. Questions can be directed to [email protected]. Information about the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey can be found at https://equine.ca.uky.edu/kyequinesurvey. The 2022 Kentucky Equine Survey is supported by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian and Rep. Matt Koch. Interested in financially supporting this effort? Email Danielle Jostes, equine philanthropy director, at [email protected] or call 859-218-1176.

Writer: Holly Wiemers, [email protected]

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.




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