Kentucky’s Sheep Industry

  • When measured on January 1, 2018, there were approximately 50, 000 head of sheep and lambs in Kentucky.  Sheep are classified either as breeding sheep or market sheep, and Kentucky had 39,000 breeding sheep and lambs and 11,000 market sheep and lambs.

  • In 2012 (Census), there were 1,743 farms with sheep and lambs in Kentucky. 

  • While we typically think of sheep of producing wool, they are also raised for milk and meat (mutton and lamb)!  Mutton barbeque is predominately served in Western Kentucky, with Owensboro and the international barbeque festival being “Mutton Central”.  

  • Top sheep counties in Kentucky (per 2012 Census):

    • Hart

    • Bourbon

    • Henry

    • Pulaski

    • Fleming

Kentucky’s Goat Industry

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  • As of January 1, 2018, there were 57,000 head of goats in Kentucky; this is up 1,000 head from 2017. Goats, much like cattle, are primarily used for either meat or milking, depending on the breed. 

  • Kentucky ranks 7th in the nation for meat goat production and 19th in milk goat production. Of the total number of goats in Kentucky, 6,000 are milk goats. Although we don’t think about eating goat cheese often, many popular cheeses can be made from goat milk, including feta, mozzarella, and ricotta. 

  • In 2012, there were 3,797 farms with goats in Kentucky.

  • Top goat counties in Kentucky (per 2012 Census):

    • Lewis

    • Barren

    • Warren

    • Hart

    • Grant

Source: National Agriculture Statistics Service and Economic Research Commission