In an effort to determine the effects of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome on the horse industry, Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton has announced he will commission an economic impact study.

“It is clear this recent occurrence of foal and fetal losses will have short- and long-term impacts on our signature industry,” Patton said in an announcement after meeting with researchers and horse industry leaders. “It is critical we gather the data necessary to determine what options might be developed to respond.”

Estimates of the potential losses from the crisis, which has been traced to cyanide poisoning from Eastern tent caterpillars that infested cherry trees, range from a conservative $150-million up to $250-million.

Kentucky’s Congressional delegation and national horse industry representatives have appealed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for low-interest loans for help farmers impacted by the crisis.