Kentucky equine industry has $3b economic impact

Kentucky equine industry has $3b economic impact

KENTUCKY'S equine industry had a total economic impact of almost $3 billion and generated 40,665 jobs last year, according to the 2012 "Kentucky Equine Survey."

According to Jill Stowe, University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs director and project lead, the total economic impact was measured as the output effect and was an estimate of revenues earned by the sale of goods and services related to the equine industry and its interconnected industries.

The study also found that the value-added effect — which may be a more descriptive measure of economic impact because it accounts for costs of production — has an estimated economic impact of $1.4 billion. The value-added effect is a measure of profitability and new income paid to workers rather than simply revenue.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment's Ag Equine Programs and the Kentucky Horse Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, released the economic impact figures from the latest survey, which is a comprehensive, statewide survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

This was the first such wide-ranging study of Kentucky's equine industry since 1977 and the first-ever detailed economic impact study about Kentucky's equine industry, an announcement said.

When looking more specifically at each sector's estimated impact:

* Breeding had the highest employment figure of 16,198, an output of $710 million and a value-added impact of $333 million.

* Racing had the highest output impact at $1.28 billion, with an employment figure of 6,251 and $601 million in value-added impact.

* Competition figures included 2,708 in employment, $635 million in output and $297 million in value-added impact.

* Recreation had 594 in employment, $166 million in output and $78 million in value-added impact.

* Other, which accounts for operations such as therapeutic riding facilities and those where horses are used for work, had an employment figure of 14,914, a $194 million output and a $91 million value-added impact.

The first phase of the study was released in January and measured Kentucky's equine and asset inventory. That portion of the study found that the state is home to 242,400 horses, and the total value of Kentucky's equine and equine-related assets is estimated at $23.4 billion. The results identified 35,000 equine operations and 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use.

Also, based on the inventory portion of the study, the total of all equine-related sales and income for equine operations was about $1.1 billion. That total came from sales of all equines, estimated to be $521.1 million, and $491 million in income from both breeding and non-breeding services such as training, lessons, boarding, farriers, transportation, purses and incentives.

The first phase also found that equine-related expenditures by equine operations totaled about $1.2 billion. Capital expenditures by equine operations, including the purchase of equines, real estate and improvements and equipment, were estimated to be $337 million. Operating expenditures totaled $839 million.

More information about the 2012 "Kentucky Equine Survey," including a copy of the final report and appendices, can be found at

Volume:85 Issue:40

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