- Statistics and State Resources
- Certified Organic Operations in Kentucky
- Organic Producer Profiles
- Kentucky Farm Characteristics
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. www.ers.usda.gov/Data/organic/) “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.
- 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
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 www.kyagr.com/buyky/index.htm.
- 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
- Dr. Michael Bomford, Kentucky State University, does organic
and sustainable vegetable research.
- 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
Berea, KY 40404
- 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
- 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
- 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