Lexington Council Hears of $2 Billion Impact from Agriculture

Jun 21, 2017

Credit visitlex.com

Agriculture in Fayette County accounts for $2.3 billion in annual economic activity. 

That’s according to a report given Tuesday to Lexington’s council.

While the total number of farms and acreage has declined over time, agriculture remains a key economic player in Fayette County.

Beyond production, the agricultural spin-off includes areas like food processing, recreation and tourism, wineries, and professional services.  Report author and ag economist Alison Davis told council the equine industry remains a primary economic driver.

“Fayette County is the number one county in the country in the production of horses,” said Davis.  “We are surrounded by businesses that are designated to support the equine industry.”

One out of every 12 jobs in Fayette County is directly or indirectly associated with agriculture.  The ag industry contributes $8.5 million in local payroll taxes.

Following Davis’ remarks, council member Kevin Stinnett said he wished there was more interest in working in the county’s number one agricultural business. 

“My biggest concern is and what really gets under my skin as being a native Lexingtonian is when we talk to parents about what do you want your kids to grow up, not one of them says I want my kid to work on a horse farm,” noted Stinnett.

While much attention will also focus on the equine industry, Fayette Alliance Executive Director Susan Speckert says the Bluegrass is home to other major ag businesses. 

“We also have an incredible cattle industry.  We are very fortunate to have the stockyards here in Fayette County and when their new facility opens it’s just going to be incredibly exciting,” explained Speckert.  “And we have this burgeoning local food movement.”

Included in the report were the top five requests from visitors to Fayette County over the last year.  According to VisitLex, those were horse farm tours, the Lexington Walk and Bluegrass County Driving Tour, bourbon distilleries, the Horse Park, and Keeneland.