Kentucky Organics

Statistics and State Resources

Kentucky Organic Statistics

Kentucky reported a steady 13.1% growth in certified organic acreage from 1997 to 2002. USDA statistics from 1997 show 5,666 certified organic acres. There were 6,291 certified acres in 2000, decreasing to 5,200 acres in 2002, then up to 8,700 acres in 2003.

The majority of organic acreage certified in Kentucky is in “other croplands” (62%), followed by hay, silage, and pasture production (995 acres, 35%). The remaining organic acreage is divided among vegetable production (2%), grain production (1%), and organic soybeans (0.4%). (USDA/ERS, 2002. Organic production. “Other croplands” include the production of wild medicinal and culinary herbs, organic tobacco, and mushrooms.(Verbal communication with organic producers)

The majority of certified organic mixed vegetables and fruits are grown near larger urban areas, where there are established direct markets at local farmers’ markets, restaurants, and local grocery stores.

Organic processing in Kentucky is currently limited to a bakery, coffee roasteries, organic distilled vodka, seed production, and organic tobacco processing.


State Resources

  1. The Kentucky State Department of Agriculture (KDA) is involved in various activities to assist organic growers.
    Accredited certifying agent. KDA has applied for accreditation from USDA-NOP to become a certifying agent, but the accreditation was still pending as of July 2005. For the current status of the KDA Organic Program accreditation,
    Contact: Kentucky State Department of Agriculture
    100 Fair Oaks Lane-5th Floor
    Frankfort, KY 40601
    Mac Stone

    Jake Schmitz

    USDA-NOP Certification Cost Share Program. KDA participates in this program, which disburses monies to certified operations in the state. Originally Kentucky was allocated $25,000 to disburse to their organic producers and handlers. According to Jake Schmitz, Program Coordinator for the Certification Cost Share Program, after redistribution
    by the USDA-NOP, there is approximately $10,000 left in the
    fund available for disbursement.
    Contact: Jake Schmitz
    1001 Fair Oaks Lane-5th Floor
    Frankfort, KY 40601

    Farmers’ Markets. KDA Product Directory lists where to buy “Kentucky Proud” livestock, hay, wood products, equipment, and services. They also offer a free Web Page Builder. For information about this service, visit

  2. The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board invests monies from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund in innovative proposals that increase net farm income. The funding affects tobacco farmers, tobacco-impacted communities, and agriculture across the state, by stimulating markets for Kentucky agricultural products, finding new ways to add value to Kentucky agricultural products, and exploring new opportunities for Kentucky farms and farm products. There are also Project Analysts on the staff to assist applicants and county councils with any questions that arise.
    Contact: Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy
    404 Ann Street
    Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
    502-564-8990 FAX

  3. Dr. Michael Bomford, Kentucky State University, does organic and sustainable vegetable research.
    502-597-6381 FAX

  4. Berea College Department of Agriculture is operating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project at the college, which is in transition to organic production. OEFFA is monitoring their transition to being certified under the NOP Standards. For more information about this project or other organic production questions,
    Contact: Sean Clark, Professor of Agriculture
    CPO 2161
    Berea, KY 40404

  5. Dr. Mark Williams, University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture, received a USDA grant for developing an organic CSA. The UK Horticulture Department has been conducting organic research at their Research Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, for past three years. They are in the process of developing an undergraduate curriculum in sustainable agriculture that will include organic production on the 6-acre CSA Program farm. The students will receive credits in the Organic/Sustainable Track for working in the CSA Program. For more information about this project, or other organic production
    Contact: Dr. Mark Williams
    Department of Horticulture
    N-318 Agricultural Sciences North
    University of Kentucky
    Lexington, KY 40546-0091

  6. Don Sorrell, Campbell County Office Extension Agent, offers assistance with organic production and handling technical questions.
    Contact: Campbell County Extension Office
    3500 Alexandria Pike
    Highland Heights, KY 41076-1705
    859-572-2600, 859-572-2619 FAX

    Partners for Family Farms is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to sustain farm life and farmland through the following goals: provide educational materials that improve the understanding of the role of agriculture in local economies; support and promote successful diversification by farmers; create linkages among urban consumers and family farms by supporting markets and other opportunities for local products to be consumed locally; educate government agencies, restaurants, and institutions about their opportunity to purchase local, family-farm products; develop urban-rural, agricultural, and environmental classroom projects; and encourage policy makers to consider the role of family farms.
    Contact: Partnership for Family Farms
    P.O. Box 22259
    Lexington, KY 40522
    859-281-6121 FAX

  7. Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center uses their skills and information base, developed over many decades, to make mountain agriculture sustainable. This organization is particularly interested in bringing to the forefront the importance of quality heirloom fruits and vegetables. They provide trainings in identifying, collecting, and sustaining family and community heirloom seeds and plants and coordinate the activities of growers of heirloom fruits and vegetables. They also experiment with herb and mushroom production.
    Contact: Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center
    1033 Pilot Knob Cemetery Road
    Berea, Kentucky 40403

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