After being hit with a commodity market crash in 2008 and a global recession in 2009, Kentucky’s farm economy showed marked improvement in 2010.

Agricultural economists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture estimate Kentucky farm cash receiptsto be $4.4 to $4.7 billion this year, up at least $100 to $300 million over 2009 and well above the 10-year average of $4 billion.Since the economy is slowly recovering and agricultural exports are thriving, 2011 cash receipts and net farm income should be significantly higher than last year.

“Larger volumes of grain exports at higher prices, as well as improved horticulture and meat exports, are behind the reversal,” said Craig Infanger, Extension professor in the UK Department of Agricultural Economics.

Infanger and fellow UK agricultural economists Kenny Burdine, Lee Meyer, Will Snell, and Cory Walters, along with Dewayne Ingram from the UK Department of Horticulture and Kentucky Farm Business Management Program Coordinator Jerry Pierce presented a 2011 outlook and an overview of Kentucky farm economy in 2010 as part of the annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation conference in Louisville.

Growth was seen across the country, as well. The U. S. Department of Agriculture projects U.S. net farm income to be up 31 percent this year.Improved market conditions for beef cattle, dairy and poultry are driving the increase, and recent surges in corn and soybean prices are also helping.

Growth in the poultry sector continued. For the second year, poultry sits in the No. 1 position in the state in terms of cash receipts, reflecting the 3 percent increase in U.S. boiler production. Meyer attributes some of that strength to demand by U.S. consumers, who each ate an average of 82 pounds of chicken last year.

“Moderate growth in the general economy and very high retail pork and beef prices pushed consumers toward chicken,” Meyer said.

Equine receipts, which remain in the No. 2 position, showed slight improvement over 2009 receipts. Sales have been steady for the most part, Burdine reported. Stud fees felt the pressure from a weak economy.

Grain receipts round out the top three.