How rich? The Bluegrass State’s equine industry is valued at a whopping $23.4 billion according to the results of a new survey, the Associated Press reported today.
Top photo: nostalgiaville.com
The study was conducted by the Kentucky field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with support and assistance by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Horse Council. It focused on the 2011 calendar year and was the first such study since 1977.
Here’s what they found out:
- Kentucky was home to 242,400 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules in 2011.
- Of these, 54,000 were thoroughbreds, the state’s most prevalent breed, followed by Quarter Horses (42,000), Tennessee Walking Horses (36,000), Saddlebreds (14,000), donkeys, mules and burros, Mountain Horse breeds (12,500) and Standardbreds (9,500).
- The majority of Kentucky’s equines were used for trail riding/pleasure (79,500), followed by broodmares (38,000), horses currently idle/not working (33,000), competition/show (24,500), horses currently growing, including yearlings, weanlings and foals (23,000), racing (15,000), work/transportation (12,500), breeding stallions (3,900) and other activities (13,000).
- Horses and related assets accounted for a estimated total value of $23.4 billion.
- Equine-related expenditures by equine operations totaled about $1.2 billion ($337 million for capital expenditures and $839 million for operating expenditures.) Notably, 77 percent of these operating expenses were spent in Kentucky.
- 35,000 equine operations were identified.
- 1.1 million acres were devoted to equine use.
“The value of Kentucky’s equine and equine-related assets, such as land and buildings, is significantly larger than other states for which we have data, and it serves to underscore that Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World,” said Jill Stowe, UK associate professor in agricultural economics and project lead, told the Paulick Report. “Upcoming economic impact analysis results will provide even more details regarding the importance of the industry to the state’s economy.”
Also, check out this brief video on the horse industry’s impact on economy, employment, tourism and identity:
Runner-up for news story of the day: “3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold cleans out horse stalls and plays rock ’n’ roll,” via Dallas News. (Remember them from their hit songs “Kryptonite” and “Here Without You“? Oh yeah you do.) Anyway, there’s not much else about horses in the story, but the headline makes me giggle.