Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has congratulated Kentucky farmers on surpassing the $4 billion mark in farm cash receipts in 2009. It was the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in the past six years that Kentucky’s agricultural producers achieved the feat.

“I am constantly amazed but never surprised by Kentucky’s resourceful and determined farmers,” Commissioner Farmer said. “To surpass $4 billion in such a challenging economy is a remarkable achievement. It also shows that Kentucky’s efforts at diversification are working and the Kentucky Proud program is helping producers find markets for their products.”

Kentucky farm cash receipts in 2009 totaled $4.26 billion, down 9.6 percent from the adjusted record 2008 total of $4.71 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The 2009 total was the third-highest on record.

Poultry and eggs were Kentucky’s leading farm commodity in 2009 with cash receipts of $911.6 million, ending the equine industry’s 10-year reign at the top of the list. Equine were responsible for $780 million. Soybeans were the leading crop with cash receipts of $527 million on the strength of a 51 percent increase from 2008, edging out corn at $524 million. Cattle and calves generated $484.6 million in cash receipts in 2009. Tobacco receipts were up for the fourth year in a row at $382.8 million.

Crops accounted for 43 percent of total Kentucky receipts at nearly $1.83 billion, 43.4 percent higher than crop receipts for 2005, the first year after the federal tobacco quota and price support system ended.