State and federal organizations are conducting a major survey of the equine population in Kentucky in the hope of developing plans to move the industry forward.
The Kentucky Horse Council, one of four organizations involved in the survey, said in order to be comprehensive, the survey must include individuals that keep horses for recreational purposes only. It will be the first such study in 35 years, officials said.
The University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and the National Agriculture Statistics Service are the other organizations involved in the survey, which has a deadline of Feb. 17. Participants must contact NASS at www.kentuckyhorse.org/KES-names/ to be included.
UK officials said the study results will allow Kentucky to accurately describe the economic impact of the equine industry; quantify the number of horses at the county level; provide information for businesses seeking to locate in the state; provide information to design and implement equine programs; establish a benchmark to allow the horse industry to adapt to market conditions; and allow for better assessment of disease incidence and surveillance.
The questionnaire for the study should be available in June, with preliminary results of the survey released in the first quarter of 2013.
“The results will be scientifically sound,” a UK official said. “Not only will the study yield high-quality data with scientific merit, but because it will involve all breeds and types of horses in every county of the state, it will provide numerous benefits to a wide array of efforts, including economic development and planning.”
The survey will include all breeds and disciplines of horses, as well as ponies, mules, and donkeys.
The NASS Kentucky Field Office, which falls under the United States Department of Agriculture and surveys other livestock entities, will head polling and survey mailing. The other three organizations are developing questions for the survey.