Historically, employment associated with agriculture in Fayette County has been limited to production agriculture. Recently, the Ag Cluster has been extended to include agricultural inputs and food processing and manufacturing. However, there are hundreds of establishments in the county that are service-based (finance, veterinary, recreation), transportation, communications, as well as wholesale and retail businesses that are 100% dedicated to agriculture. These businesses have never been included in an economic impact study exploring the impact of agriculture in Fayette County. Ignoring these businesses underestimates the value of the agricultural sector. This is particularly important in Fayette County because of its competitive advantage in the equine industry.
In 2012, CEDIK (Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky) at the University of Kentucky presented findings that highlighted the value of this expanded definition of the Ag Cluster in Fayette County. CEDIK conducted an extensive search of agricultural enterprises within the county and estimated the total number of jobs, output, and labor income associated with this cluster. The purpose of this study is to provide an update of these numbers and to update the Fayette County Ag Cluster Business database.
When the Ag Cluster is defined to include business services, retail, and wholesale trade solely dedicated to agriculture, in addition to the traditional way agriculture has been measured, it is estimated that a total of 14,091 jobs are attributed to this cluster. In addition, there are approximately 1,724 jobs directly and indirectly associated with the hospitality sector in Lexington. Given total employment in the county (approximately 189,946) these results suggest that roughly 1 out of every 12 jobs is directly or indirectly associated with the Ag Cluster. Employment in the Ag Cluster contributes approximately $8.5 million to the local tax base through the 2.25% occupational tax rate.
In addition, the Ag Cluster generates approximately $2.3 billion in output annually and $1.3 billion dollars in additional income, profits, and dividends.
Davis, Alison and Balazs, Simona E., "The Influence of the Agricultural Cluster on the Fayette County Economy " (2017). Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky Reports. 3.