Agriculture economists at the University of Kentucky are forecasting an upturn in cash receipts from horses in the Bluegrass state in 2013 after the equine industry experienced steady sales in 2012.
While total 2012 cash crop receipts for Kentucky won't be released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture until mid-2013, projections for this year and next were provided Dec. 6 during the annual meeting of the Kentucky Farm Bureau in Louisville, Ky.
Also, during an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal at the meeting, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said he expects a casino bill to be presented during the 2013 session of the state's General Assembly that convenes in January 2013.
"After dropping drastically in 2009 and 2010, Kentucky equine receipts rallied considerably in 2011, reaching $800 million," the UK agriculture economists report said. "Receipts are still well off the $1 billion levels reached in 2006-08, but this change was a welcomed improvement since the market had previously experienced weak sales. Sales were steady during 2012, but prices were generally improved. Total receipts are likely to decrease slightly in 2012, but the equine market appears to be showing signs of improvement.
"Looking ahead, equine markets should continue to improve during 2013," the report continued. "Improved sale prices and steady stud fees are likely as the market continues to recover. Assuming that demand remains relatively strong, receipts are likely to improve in 2013."
UK agriculture economist Will Snell said annual farm cash receipts across Kentucky are on pace to surpass $5 billion for the first time ever, with corn and poultry the leading categories.
The Courier-Journal reported Comer has been discussing casino gambling legislation with Gov. Steve Beshear and he expects a bill to be filed next year.
"He's called me at home several times and I've given him my opinion," said Comer, who supports expanded gambling to help the horse industry. "... The governor's going to have to propose the legislation and if it's what we think is best for the horse industry and the horse breeders, then we will support it if he wants us to."
Beshear has said he continues to support expanded gambling to help the horse industry and provide new revenue for the state, but he has not offered any specifics about a bill in the 2013 session, according to the Courier-Journal.
Earlier this year, the state Senate rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casinos almost exclusively at racetracks.
Since that vote, Senate President David Williams, an outspoken critic of expanded gambling in Kentucky, has been appointed to a judgeship by Beshear. Williams was succeeded in his leadership position by Sen. Robert Stivers, who also voted against the amendment. Sen. Damon Thayer, sponsor of the failed casino bill, was elected as majority floor leader.