A University of Kentucky report estimates 2009 cash receipts for Kentucky farmers will total $4.29 billion, 11 percent lower than 2008’s record $4.84 billion total but even with the five-year average of $4.28 billion. UK agriculture economists set 2009 net farm income at $1.07 billion. The report forecasts 2010 farmgate receipts of $4.1-4.5 billion. The report predicts gains in cash receipts for livestock and possibly “minor improvements” in sales of fruits, vegetables, greenhouse products and small grains.
The University of Kentucky Athletics Department will provide funding for scholarships to aid students from the Appalachian counties of Kentucky. UK Athletics Deputy Director Rob Mullens said the recent media contract between ESPN and the Southeastern Conference schools is allowing UK Athletics to commit $500,000 a year for the scholarships through the term of the 15-year contract. The contribution brings UK Athletics’ annual support for non-athletic scholarships to $1.7 million. Part of the funding will support the current Robinson Scholars Program, which serves first-generation college-bound and college students from 29 Eastern Kentucky counties. The remainder of the funding will establish other scholarships that will also serve Kentucky students from the Appalachian area.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Kentucky Pharmacists Association have acquired a new mobile pharmacy unit that will be used to provide pharmaceutical services in support of disasters and emergencies. The 28-foot-long mobile pharmacy trailer can be sent quickly to the site of an emergency to allow pharmacists to provide a wide range of pharmacy services, including patient counseling and care, immunizations, public health education, medication preparation and dispensing. Funding for the mobile unit was provided through a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate declined .7 percentage points to 10.6 percent in November 2009 from 11.3 percent in October 2009, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET). November 2009’s jobless rate is 3.4 percentage points higher than the 7.2 percent rate recorded in November 2008. “Kentucky’s economy continued to show signs of stabilization in November 2009,” said Dr. Justine Detzel, OET chief labor market analyst. “However, individuals who have faced long-term unemployment dropping out of the labor force and a rise in the number of people working part-time for economic reasons contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate.”
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation’s quarterly survey of food prices in the state indicates a 5.6 percent decline in 2009. A December survey of 40 popular grocery items showed an average total cost of $105.28, as compared to $111.63 at the beginning of 2009. Of the seven food groupings in the survey, only poultry showed significant movement in the last quarter of 2009. The average for five poultry products was up 6.1 percent and was fueled by a 20-cent-per-pound hike for chicken breasts and a 33-cent rise for a dozen extra large eggs. Among items that fell in price during the last quarter of 2009 were sirloin steak, pork chops, ham, butter, ice cream, potatoes and apples. Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation has conducted the survey for four decades as a tool to reflect retail food pricing trends and their relationship to what farmers receive for their raw commodities. On average, the farmers’ share of the retail food dollar is around 19 cents.