Most Danville and Lancaster area farmers fared better than expected in 2012 and should have a very profitable 2013, according to Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer.
“In this region of Kentucky, they suffered a mild drought but It wasn’t anything like in western Kentucky,” he said. “The Paducah, Murray and Mayfield area suffered a severe drought and when it started raining in central Kentucky it still wasn’t raining in western Kentucky.”
But, despite weather challenges, 2012 was probably the most profitable year in history for all Kentucky tobacco farmers. Government officials are no longer 100 percent involved in the tobacco industry, which is not the case with milk.
“Commodity prices are at record highs for everything except milk,” Comer said. “The problem with the dairy industry is that’s the one industry in that the government has full price support. That doesn’t work.”
Area beef cattle farmers, on the other hand, are not subject to the same type of government involvement in their businesses, Comer said. Beef profits have been consistently high for the last 10 years despite the national economic downturn, he noted.
While the corn crop in central Kentucky was not as profitable as farmers anticipated, the yield was still much better than in the western part of the state, Comer said. Area farmers had a profitable soybean crop in 2012 and will hopefully have the same results or better this year.
“So I think at the end of the day, the farmers in the Danville and Lancaster area had a very good year.”
Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership President Jody Lassiter and Garrard County Economic Development Director Nathan Mick were both pleased to hear about Comer’s summary of general agricultural success in 2012 and his prediction of 2013 as a banner year for most regional farmers.
While full-time farming as a vocation is shrinking in Boyle County, Lassiter is hoping to attract more agriculturally-based industries to the area.
Boyle has a prime geographic location for farming and agricultural-related businesses, but the area in general has become more of a suburban county, Lassiter said.
On the other hand, more agricultural-based industries have been consistently moving into Garrard, Mick said. “Agriculture is part of the historic fiber and culture of Garrard County and this region,” he said. “In recent years, we have seen millions of dollars in agribusiness economic development in Garrard County.”
New Lancaster area businesses related to the farming industry include Marksbury Farm Market, Bluegrass Lamb and Goat, Performance Feeds and Animal Health, the Ashley Inn and Meadow Lake Equestrian Center and Halcomb’s Knob Field to Fork Festival.
“We hope to see the new agriculture business cluster in our community continue to grow and provide new opportunities for Garrard County and Kentucky,” Mick said.