2012 Kentucky Equine Survey Begins June 25

Beginning June 25, horse owners across Kentucky might be one of 15,000 "horseholds" selected by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) to contribute critically important information about Kentucky's horse industry. Those receiving a survey in the mail are urged to complete and return the information as promptly as possible.

The University of Kentucky's (UK) Ag Equine Programs and the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) have partnered on the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey, a statewide comprehensive survey of all horse breeds. The study has been undertaken in conjunction with the University of Louisville's (UofL) Equine Business Program and the NASS Kentucky field office. The last comprehensive study of this type was conducted in 1977.

"The survey team has been working diligently to set the necessary foundation for a successful launch of the Kentucky Equine Survey," said Jill Stowe, PhD, assistant professor in agricultural economics at UK and project lead. "We are excited that the time has arrived, and we look forward to a strong response by Kentucky's horse operation owners."

The purpose of the study is to acquire an accurate inventory of all horses in the state by breed and use and to describe their economic impact at the farm and community levels through races, shows, trail rides, and other events. Information relating to capital investments on the farm and through farm equipment is also requested to better assess the Kentucky horse industry's full economic value. Horses being inventoried include those on farms owned by the horse owner as well as those boarded at equine boarding and breeding facilities.

Details are being collected about the breeds of horses in Kentucky, their uses, and their estimated value. Other economic questions include the number and value of horses sold or purchased in 2011. Approximate horse care expenses are also requested, including wages, taxes paid, feed, bedding, health, supplies, farrier, insurance, boarding, and training fees.

All farm and individual names are confidential to NASS and will not be available to any state or federal agency, nor to UK, UofL, or KHC. Summary results from the survey are expected in December 2012, with in-depth economic impact results becoming available during early 2013.

The study has been partially funded by a grant to KHC from the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund (KADF), as well as from UK's College of Agriculture, KHC, and equine industry supporters. UK and KHC are in the final stages of soliciting matching funds from Kentucky's equine industry, which are required for a portion of the KADF grant funds. Early supporters toward this effort included the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders. Alltech, Equine Medical Associates, Farmers Feed Mill, Keeneland, Northern Kentucky Horse Network, Sierra Farm, and Webster Pharmaceuticals have provided or pledged additional financial support. Additionally, KHC continues to raise money through a grassroots campaign where private horse owners donate $10 on behalf of their horse(s).

More information about the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey can be found at www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/kyequinesurvey or on KHC's website at www.kentuckyhorse.org.

Holly Wiemers, MA, is UK Ag Equine Programs communications director

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