Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture is looking for Kentucky farmers interested in growing hemp next year as part of the state’s new program to reestablish hemp as a viable commodity, but growers will need to fill out the proper paperwork by Jan. 1.
After some legislative wrangling at the state and federal levels in recent years, and with an “OK” wink and nod from the 2014 farm bill, Kentucky last year planted its first “legal” hemp crop since the plant was outlawed along with its infamous cousin, marijuana, more than 70 years ago.
The ag department set up pilot projects across the state with several universities to research ways to better cultivate hemp in the state, leading to creating markets for it.
But the program needs on-farm help. Growers interested in participating can download the application and sent it to the department for consideration.
A note from the application says:
"A physical address of the location for the production fields to be used to grow, process, or store industrial hemp must be submitted with this application. Provide global positioning coordinates for the property, if possible. This application constitutes written consent to allow staff from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to obtain global positioning coordinates for the location of the production fields if accurate global positioning coordinates are not provided with the application."
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program is the result of the passage of two separate laws: Kentucky's Senate Bill 50, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill signed into law February 7, 2014. Senate Bill 50 exempted industrial hemp from the state controlled substances act but also mandated that Kentucky follow all federal rules and regulations with respect to industrial hemp. The Federal Farm Bill allows state departments of agriculture, in states where industrial hemp is legal, to administer industrial hemp pilot programs in conjunction with universities for the purposes of research and development.