The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its 2018 industrial hemp research pilot program and seeking public comments on program’s preliminary draft rules. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles indicated that Kentucky farmers planted 3,200 acres of hemp this season – the most ever under the regime.
In 2016, the state’s farms grew 2,350 acres after 922 acres in 2015 and just 33 in 2014.
“My vision is to expand and strengthen our research pilot program to put industrial hemp on a responsible path toward commercialization,” Quarles said in a press release. “Our increased production and processing is welcome news for the industry.”
In February, the Legislature passed SB.218 which requires the Agriculture Department to develop rules and regulations for hemp cultivation and processing; the department is seeking comments to fulfill those requirements. Comments can be sent by mail to the agency or via email by Oct. 31.
Hemp cultivation applications must be postmarked or received by the department by Nov. 15; hemp processor and handler applications are preferred by that date but have a final deadline of June 1, 2018.
Currently, there are 194 growing participants and 48 hemp processors conducting research under the state’s pilot program.