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Monday, September 12, 2011 - 3:11am

Horse Survey Underway

Updated: 3 years ago.
Horses being cared for by volunteer at one of three barns run by Georgia Department of Agriculture (photo courtesy Georgia Department of Agriculture)

Georgia has around 150,000 horses, but they’re a little known agricultural commodity. Now the state is conducting a survey to see just how much money they bring to Georgia’s economy.

In 2006, lawmakers created the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Equine. Now, the commission is working with University of Georgia economists to conduct its first economic impact study.

Commission Chair Jim Gibby says between feeding, competing and recreation, horses have an estimated economic impact of a billion dollars a year, and that could grow.

“As people are looking at horse racing, I don’t want them to think that the equine industry is not thriving and doing well in our state. It is, and we’re going to prove that with this survey. And, if we get horse racing that’s just going to be a huge plus to add to what we already have.”

A state House panel is studying racing and pari-mutual betting. Thirty-eight states currently have it.