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Its greatest length from east to west is about 400 miles, and its greatest width from north to south is about 180 miles.The southeastern section of the state is mountainous, the general elevation ranging from 1000 to 1500 feet, with some crests near the southeastern border, in the Cumberland and Pine Mountains, rising to a height of 3000 feet.
The average size of the farms has steadily decreased.Portions of this plateau are marked by cone-shaped hills rising to as height of about 1000 or 1200 feet, and in another portion frequent sinks, or depressions, are found through which the surface water finds is way into underground passages.Many caves or caverns exist in this region, the most notable being the Mammoth Cave, the largest natural cavern in the world.In 1909 the average was 93.7 acres, which is less than half what it was fifty years previous.More than 67 per cent of the farms are operated by owners of the land.In 1909 it was estimated (Federal Census Department) at 2,406,859.
In 1900 there were 50,249 persons of foreign birth and 284,706 negroes.
Western Kentucky, particularly west of the Tennessee River, is low and sandy.
The mean annual temperature is about 55° Fahrenheit.
The total value of all principal crops in 1908 was $92,566,600.
Kentucky produces nearly all the hemp grown in the United States; but the demand for this product has so far decreased that in 1900 only 14,107 acres were planted in the state.
The state is bounded on the north and northwest by the Ohio River, separating it from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the low water mark on the northern shore being the state line; on the east by Virginia and the Big Sandy River, which separates it from West Virginia; on the South by Tennessee and Virginia; on the west by the Mississippi River, which separates from Missouri.