Agriculture is Kentucky’s largest employer and contributes the greatest percentage of revenue to Kentucky’s economy.  As many Kentucky youth will ultimately be employed in the ANR sector, Agriculture is an important core content area for youth to engage in and experience.

·         The importance of Kentucky agriculture extends well beyond the farm. The total economic impact of agriculture production, inputs, processing, and manufacturing is nearly $46.3 billion and represents 263,000 jobs in Kentucky.  Because of the vast breadth of Agriculture and Natural Resources, along with their related industries, it is important for youth to experience the vast array of programs and activities that are encompassed in the agriculture core content area.

·         Historically, employment associated with Kentucky agriculture has been limited to production agriculture. This sector's value in Kentucky is $6.1 billion and includes cash receipts from commodities as well as revenues from additional sources of farm income, such as custom work, machinery hire, and farm rental values. Cash receipts totaled nearly $5 billion, including $2 billion in agricultural exports in 2011.

·         The largest agricultural export originating from Kentucky is soybeans, followed by tobacco and corn.  The importance of these three crops to Kentucky’s Agriculture makes them important components of the 4-H Youth Development core curriculum.

·         This impact does not include service-based industries such as banking, insurance, or legal sectors. This number also does not include the nearly $10 billion impact of the forestry and wood products sector and the more than 51,000 jobs that support it. Defining the Kentucky agriculture cluster to include these sectors adds 143,776 workers to the more than 90,000 individuals who work directly in agriculture production and $24 billion in direct revenues.

·         Kentucky’s top agriculture commodities include horses, boiler/meat chickens, corn, cattle, soybeans, tobacco and hay.  The importance of these commodities make them vitally important components of the Kentucky 4-H Curriculum.  All youth must understand that the end product of all Agriculture programs, projects and activities is the productive of food and fiber.  Agriculture impacts everyone.

·         Livestock and livestock products account for about half of Kentucky’s farm income.  Therefore, the role of livestock and livestock projects in the Kentucky 4-H curriculum is fundamentally important.  Youth must understand the role of agriculture in their daily lives, and the importance of livestock and livestock products in the type, kind and quality of the foods that they eat.

·         Farmland covers 54% of the total acreage in the commonwealth.