A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Hemp boom has arrived, but economists advise farmers, investors to act with caution

The hemp boom has arrived with legalization under the new Farm Bill, especially with the new market for cannabidiol (CBD) preparations, but annual growth is likely to remain stable, and production may be concentrated “in relatively few states where hemp can be grown at the lowest cost of production and transported shorter distances for processing,” write University of Kentucky agricultural...

Rural Blog: Federal hemp legalization opens avenues of promotion and protection for growers, sellers

Federal hemp legalization opens up new avenues of promotion and protection for growers and sellers The legalization of industrial hemp in last year’s Farm Bill has opened up a slew of new avenues for growers of the crop and purveyors of its products to help their operations, Liam Niemeyer reports for Ohio Valley Resource, a public-radio cooperative that serves Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. When...

Mitch McConnell: Industrial hemp legalization through Farm Bill provides new opportunity for Ky.

The Senate has opened a door to new opportunities for Kentucky agriculture. After extensive collaboration with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we passed one of my top Kentucky priorities for the year – a Farm Bill containing my legislation to legalize the production of industrial hemp. When President Trump signs the bill into law, Kentucky‘s farmers can continue to lead the nation in...

Farm Bill passes both Senate, House, on way to president; includes industrial hemp production

Staff report The U.S. House passed the 2018 Farm Bill on Tuesday by a vote of 369-47, joining the U.S. Senate in approving the bill that empowers farmers to expand cultivation of industrial hemp. It now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. He is expected to sign the bill into legislation. The hemp industry is poised to become a $20 billion industry by 2022. U.S. Senate Majority Leader...

Farm Bill seems likely to pass by the end of the year as part of year-end budget package

It seems likely that a new Farm Bill will pass by the end of the year, Harwood Schaffer and Daryll Ray of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center at the University of Tennessee predict in their latest “Policy Pennings” column.  The big sticking point is proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The House version of the bill includes...

Community Farm Alliance: Defeated Farm bill failed to provide safety net, immigration solution

By Laura Peot Stevens and Bree Pearsall On May 29, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, the House’s version of the Farm Bill. Community Farm Alliance does not support H.R. 2 because it fails basic responsibilities of providing a safety net for farmers and the food insecure. Stevens (left) and Pearsall Ironically, the bill failed not because...

Commentary: Coalition of Kentucky organizations oppose food assistance cuts in Farm Bill

One in seven Kentuckians has food on their table in part thanks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program lifts 164,000 Kentuckians, including 73,000 children, out of poverty. It sends nearly $1 billion a year to grocery stores and our state economy, and injects even more into our local communities during hard times when they most need it. For decades, SNAP has been a program...

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Aiming to legalize growing industrial hemp and help Kentucky farmers expand

For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. Although it was a foundational part of Kentucky’s heritage and today you can buy products made with hemp at stores across the country, most farmers have been barred from planting it in their fields. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles in place and give our...

Dept. of Agriculture accepting applications for 2018 hemp program, seeks public input on regulations

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2018 growing season. “I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 3,200 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research...

Commentary: Keeping Kentucky’s economy strong, the Farm Bill affects us all — not just farmers

The first permanent farm bill was passed in 1938 when farming was much different than it is today. But the purpose of the bill still basically remains the same; to establish and oversee programs that maintain an abundant food supply and help farm families be successful. I know without a doubt, it is the most important piece of legislation connected to our farmers, ranchers and rural America. But this...

USDA block grants will help Kentucky’s specialty crops businesses ‘grow and prosper’

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Earlier this month, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that nearly $118 million in grants would go to states to help in efforts of strengthening markets for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops.   That money was part of the Farm Bill package passed by Congress earlier this year. Vilsack...

Despite mixed reviews, five-year Farm Bill
is expected to benefit Kentucky farmers

The five-year Farm Bill is getting mixed reviews, but most agricultural organizations say it should benefit Kentucky farmers. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   While not everyone is happy with the five-year Farm Bill that passed Congress last week, most agricultural organizations appear to be content with the compromise legislation that took two years...

Rural Blog: Finally, a farm bill; report says McConnell ‘jumped on board’ at the end

Special to KyForward   “The long-tortured farm bill cleared Congress on Tuesday, ending a two-year struggle that split the old farm-food coalition as never before and dramatized the growing isolation of agriculture and rural America in an ever more urban House,” which reflects the nation’s population, reports David Rogers of Politico. “The bill represents a landmark rewrite...

Officials say Farm Bill’s hemp provision would be big step toward restoring production in Ky.

News that the proposed federal Farm Bill contains language that would take a giant step toward restoring industrial hemp production to Kentucky – and the nation – is being met with praise from at least two Kentucky officials.   “For months, we have tried to get some assurance at the federal level that Kentucky producers can grow industrial hemp without fear of government harassment...

Farm Bill may be the best chance for legalizing industrial hemp production, proponents say

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   For nearly two years negotiations have been going on in some form or another over a new farm bill. The current bill actually expired last year with an extension passed to keep things rolling.   That in itself may not be unusual; most farm bills take more than one try to get passed. This one has been batted around a little more, perhaps, but appears...

Kentucky congressman says hemp research, production could quickly follow Farm Bill

Hemp plant (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   The Sept. 30 deadline to pass a new Farm Bill in the U.S. Congress is approaching quickly, and as different as the Senate and House versions are, there appears to be at least one amendment in each with a little common ground; that is the issue of growing hemp once again in this country.
   With...

House passes Farm Bill … sort of; bright spot is hemp amendment that was kept in tact

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   You can’t say the U.S. House of Representatives refuses to pass a farm bill anymore, but the legislation passed yesterday came at quite a cost, according to many lawmakers and farm organizations.   The bill, which has long included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was separated to make the two separate pieces of legislation...

What a difference a year makes: Kentucky’s 2013 corn crop is ‘good to excellent’ so far

The National Agriculture Statistics Service says Kentucky’s crop is 58 percent good and 24 percent excellent. (Photo from Creative Commons)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   The corn landscape around Kentucky looks considerably different this year from 2012, thanks to plentiful rains and moderate temperatures.   The latest National Agricultural Statistics Service listed...

The Rural Blog: Vilsack calls for ‘outrage,’
not ‘disappointment,’ at defeat of Farm Bill

By Al Cross Special to KyForward   In his first major speech since last Thursday’s surprise defeat of the Farm Bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said rural advocates have failed to express proper outrage about it. And his 42 minutes of remarks at the National Rural Assembly’s gathering near Bethesda, Md., also laid out some of the talking points he thinks they should make to...

Industrial hemp gets ‘yes’ vote, but Farm Bill fails in the House of Representatives – again

By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   For supporters of legalizing industrial hemp, the morning of June 20 must have felt really good as an amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill that would have allowed colleges and universities to grow and research industrial hemp passed, albeit by a slim 225-200 margin.   Granted, it wasn’t as broad of an amendment as its Senate cousin,...