LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's agricultural receipts are expected to hold steady to last year's levels despite turmoil caused by the coronavirus, economists said Friday.
The state's 2020 farm cash receipts are projected to be $5.5 billion, equaling last year's amount, University of Kentucky agricultural economists said. Net farm income will likely exceed the $2.2 billion Kentucky producers earned in 2019, they estimated.
“Like most businesses, agriculture has experienced a crazy and challenging year, but unlike a lot of industries, the farm economy not only survived but is ending 2020 on a positive note,” said UK ag economist Will Snell.
Higher grain prices and crop yields near all-time highs helped offset lower equine, poultry, cattle, dairy and tobacco receipts.
The coronavirus had a huge impact on the livestock sector as labor challenges created a “significant processing bottleneck" in the spring and the marketing system had to adjust to a shift away from restaurant consumption and toward at-home consumption, said UK ag economist Kenny Burdine.
Government payments bolstered the farm sector. Kentucky farmers may receive close to $500 million in direct government payments in 2020, the economists said.
Poultry remains Kentucky’s top agricultural commodity, accounting for 19% of overall projected sales, they said. Corn and soybeans tied for second and equine was fourth.