Kentucky's Cattle Farmers are Getting Older

Nov 11, 2015

Beef Cattle Grazing
Credit John Comloquoy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  Kentucky is the largest producing cattle industry east of the Mississippi River. Those cattle farmers, however, are getting older. According to a recent survey by The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association the average cattle producer in the Commonwealth is 62-years-old.

The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is a membership organization that represents Kentucky cattle producers. Becky Thompson works with the association and is the director of the Kentucky Beef Network. She says this is an issue for future cattle production in the state.

“There’s a large group of farmers right now, that have been in there for years and you know it's something that has been declining as we have progressed in the industry.” Thompson said.

Thompson says access to land and capital are the biggest hurdles for young farmers looking to produce. She says making agriculture production more attractive by letting younger farmers know there is a place for them in the industry is key to making sure cattle continues to thrive in the Commonwealth.

"I know Farm Credit has made a big internal push in the last year to actively invest in young and beginning farmers, where they haven't in the past. So a lot of the agencies are looking into this and taking it on as a special interest." Thompson said.

Kentucky is ranked 5th nationally in beef cattle production with approximately 1.1 million cattle in the state.