Kentucky might, indeed, make the most sense provided lucrative employment can be had.
That being said, here I go again, even though I am not trying to be a naysayer
If moving slightly east, SE, NE (from your current home) is what you decide, do some research on the regions near the New Madrid Fault Line.
That would be where the 1800-something earthquake hit, split the Mississippi River in two, caused it to run backward for several days, and is how Reel Foot Lake came to be
Meaning, I THINK in the last 8 or so years, some lending institutions (at least that's what I heard regarding West Tennessee) in that region might require earthquake insurance for homes within a certain distance of the New Madrid Fault Line.
It is actually a bigger belly ache than the San Andreas fault line, if it ever lets go again. The San Andreas fault line has a lot more activity, therefore more coverage.
I am sorry, please don't throw the steel toed barn boots at me, I just think it's better to know as much as possible before falling in love with a certain area, then a piece of property, and finding out all these "financial codicils" after the fact.
Also, in Kentucky, if that's where you end up looking, be sure to walk the entire property. Quite a few years ago, a friend of mine was X-ferred from GM Lordstown to the Corvette Plant in Bowling Green, KY and bought 20 acres of alleged horse property. She drove down from upper Ohio and only looked at the front five or so acres and the house.
It was a pretty piece of property, it was really cheap, she bought it. Moved her horses on and soon discovered the back property was full of sink holes the real estate agent never disclosed. Dangerous sink holes where her horses were concered. Back then nothing could legally be done, she sold the property at a loss as it became useless for her equine needs.
Walk all of the property, wherever you look
Try really hard to stay out of the tornado zones too. You can Google that information once you hone in on areas of interest