2012 Kentucky Equine Survey: Clearing up Misunderstandings

It has come to the Kentucky Equine Survey team's attention that some Kentucky horse owners might have false information regarding the survey's purpose and the use of its resulting information. To clear up any misinformation, the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture Equine Programs aims to set the survey facts straight:

Myth 1: Providing this information will result in a change to my tax rate or other government scrutiny.

IN FACT, information provided to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is kept absolutely confidential. NASS has been providing census and other survey services in many agricultural segments for more than 100 years and by law doesn't divulge any identifying information, even to the various entities that have hired its services (such as UK) or to other government agencies. It is even one of the only governmental agencies that falls outside of the purview of an open records request or legal subpoena. For more about confidentiality, security, and information protection by NASS, please see www.nass.usda.gov/About_NASS/index.asp.

Myth 2: Specific information I provide about my operation will be shared or available to other government or business agencies or the general public.

IN FACT, the purpose of the survey is not to determine information about specific people or businesses, but rather what breeds and uses of horses, with what economic impact and in what counties, occur in Kentucky. The same laws governing the confidentiality of your information apply here.

Myth 3: It won't matter whether I provide the information. They can get what they need from others.

IN FACT, every response matters. By not providing important information about horse breeds residing in Kentucky, the state's horse industry loses an accurate representation of that breed. The lack of participation by any one sector could lead to an overall underestimation of the industry's value (and hence less clout among our state's leaders) as well as an undercounting of a specific breed and its value compared to other breeds.

This will be considered the official count of horses in Kentucky for 2012. Make sure your horses and their economic impact on Kentucky are counted!

And, if you feel compelled to contribute to the survey, thank you! We are closing in on our funding deadline, and we only need to secure $20,000 in pledges or gifts by Aug. 31 in order to receive $100,000 in matching funds from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund.

For more detailed information about the survey and a list of FAQs, please see www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/kyequinesurvey.

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

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More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK Ag Equine Programs.

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