Mary Lee New
H Joy Swatzyna
C. Gary Adkinson
Lexington click hereLexington is a leading world center for horse breeding and sales. Lexington is also a regional retail, financial, manufacturing, and educational center.
Louisville click hereLouisville is a major port of entry on the southern bank of the Ohio River. Louisville is the economic focus of a large metropolitan area that extends across the Ohio River into Indiana and includes a great variety of industries.
Paducah click herePaducah is located in western Kentucky. It is a port at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, in a tobacco and fruit-growing area. Industries in the city include uranium enrichment, book publishing, and the manufacture of transportation equipment, aluminum products, and processed food.
Don & Lisa Foster
TONITA & ROLAND GOODWIN
Linda M Craft
Tobacco is the leading source of crop income. Kentucky ranks second among the states, after North Carolina, in the production of tobacco and usually accounts for one-quarter of the annual U.S. tobacco crop. The principal types of tobacco grown in Kentucky are burley and dark leaf.
Kentucky's other important cash crops are corn and soybeans, which are grown mainly in the western part of the state, and hay, particularly in the central part of the state. Wheat and forest products are also significant sources of farm income.
Cattle and calves, the most valuable type of livestock in the farm economy, are raised throughout the state. Production of beef cattle is concentrated mainly in the Bluegrass and Pennyroyal areas, which have the best pasturelands in the state. The Bluegrass area is best known, however, for its Thoroughbred horses. Horse breeding, a valuable component in Kentucky's farming sector, is concentrated in the Inner Bluegrass region in the vicinity of Lexington. Hogs are raised in many areas of central and western Kentucky but are most numerous in the Western Coal Field and adjoining sections of the Pennyroyal. Sheep are grazed on the rich pasturelands of the Bluegrass region.
Bituminous coal, by far the most valuable mineral produced in Kentucky, accounted for four-fifths of the state's total mineral production, by value, in the late 1990s. Other valuable minerals produced are natural gas, oil, crushed stone, lime, cement, clays, and gemstones.
In 1997 Kentucky ranked third among the states in quantity of bituminous coal produced, behind Wyoming and West Virginia. Coal is mined in Kentucky's Eastern Coal Field and Western Coal Field. The eastern field is larger and contains a better quality coal, and consequently is the source of the largest share of production. While some surface, or strip, mining is done, most coal comes from a few, very large underground mines.
Oil deposits underlie much of both coalfield areas and also the southern part of the Pennyroyal. The leading oil-producing areas are Union, Henderson, Daviess, Hopkins, and Webster counties in the western part of the Western Coal Field and Lee County on the Cumberland Plateau. Most of the state's output of natural gas comes from gas fields in the easternmost part of the Appalachian Plateaus region.
Crushed stone, lime, and portland cement were the top nonfuel minerals by value of production in 1997. Stone, sand, and gravel are produced throughout the state. The production of lime, used as the binding agent in cement and concrete, is centered in the north of the state. Clays are produced in the Gulf Coastal Plain, where there are high-grade clays suitable for pottery making, and in the northern part of the Appalachian Plateaus region, where fireclays for use in blast furnaces are mined. Kentucky consistently ranks among the top states in the production of gemstones.
The metals and metal-related industries dominated Kentucky's manufacturing in the late 1990s. The largest employers are the automotive and home appliance industries. The manufacture of automobiles and parts for the automotive industry accounted for nearly one-fourth of all the value added by Kentucky's industries in 1996. Other leading manufactures include the making of chemicals, including chemicals for use by other industries, paints, plastics and resins, and adhesives; and the manufactures of industrial machinery, including heating and cooling equipment, computer peripheral equipment, conveyors, trucks and tractors used by industry, and air compressors. Other industries contributing significantly to the state's economy are food processing; printing and publishing; and the manufacture of electronic devices. The Louisville metropolitan area constitutes by far the state's most important industrial center.
Beverages account for nearly one-fourth of the income generated by food-processing industries located in the state. The single most important beverage produced is bourbon, a whiskey that has been called Kentucky's most distinctive product. Kentucky produces more whiskey than any other state. Whiskey distilling is carried on in many places, but the principal center is the Louisville area. Other centers are Owensboro, Frankfort, Lawrenceburg, and Bardstown.
Machinery and electrical equipment, including farm and textile machinery, transportation equipment, especially automobiles, and radio, electronic, and X-ray equipment, are manufactured in the Louisville area and in Covington, Lexington, Paducah, Owensboro, Georgetown, and Bowling Green. Ashland is an important center for heavy industry, particularly the manufacture of steel, coke, chemicals, oil products, and bricks. The manufacture of cigarettes and other tobacco products is concentrated in the Louisville area. This area makes much of the state's metal products and chemicals. It is also the chief publishing and printing center.
Kentucky's extensive coal reserves and abundant water supply provide the state with excellent resources for the generation of electricity. Thermal plants, fueled almost exclusively by coal, generated 97 percent of the electricity in 1999.
Most of the electricity generated in the state is produced at publicly owned power plants, which include those operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Some 3 percent of electricity was produced at a number of hydroelectric generating stations in the state. Among the largest such stations are those at dams on the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee and Dix rivers.