The KAC was established in the late 1970s by the Kentucky Farm Bureau's E. W. Kessler and other Kentucky agricultural leaders. Initially, it operated as an informal group that met once or twice each year to share information about the members' common goals, projects, and activities.
During the mid-1990s, the KAC was incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization. Its activities became more formalized with the adoption of Bylaws, a statement of purpose, and the creation of a Board of Directors. Its focus was to promote communication among the State's agricultural education institutions, State and Federal agricultural agencies, and the main commodity groups, working toward common goals. (See current Bylaws approved 11/11/2022).
In partnership with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the KAC helped coordinate activities and served as a forum for the exchange among its members by sponsoring events such as a Governor's Ag Tour, Agriculture Summits, and award programs to recognize outstanding producers and innovative ideas in agriculture.
The KAC also supported and served as a sounding board for major initiatives designed to strengthen the competitiveness of Kentucky agriculture. This focus continued during 1998–2004 when the Master Settlement Agreement and the National Tobacco Buyout forever changed Kentucky farmers' economic and production landscape. Kentucky’s HB 611 established a new framework via the Agricultural Development Board for funding and supporting innovative agricultural production and marketing initiatives statewide.
Since 2006, at the request of Governor Ernie Fletcher, the KAC has taken on a stronger leadership role in strategic planning to help increase net farm income and improve the quality of life in rural Kentucky, leading to the publication of A Pathway for Kentucky's Agriculture and its Rural Communities: 2007 to 2012 Strategic Plan. Continued encouragement by Governor Steve Beshear led the KAC to play a facilitator role in implementing this plan and led to the adoption of new Bylaws and strengthening of the representation of KAC members on its Board of Directors in early 2009.
Work on a new strategic plan designed to encourage broad participation by individuals and representatives from all sectors of Kentucky agriculture began in 2012. The Board established six committees centered on the key goals that continue to drive forward the implementation of its recommended Actions and provide accountability toward meeting the plan's Benchmarks that will help update the plan periodically. Those committees were:
- Ag Education Committee
- Consumer Outreach Committee
- Government Policies, Programs & Initiatives Committee
- Legislative and Policymaker Outreach Committee
- New Market Identification Committee
- Next Generation Farming Committee
The KAC Board of Directors has had discussions to create a new strategic plan. With the reintroduction of dedicated staff support in 2022, KAC hopes to reinvigorate efforts to move in that direction.