A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gov. Bevin busy with pen, signing half dozen bills into law; here’s a list

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Matt Bevin signed more than half dozen bills into law on this week, including ones dealing with traffic violations in work zones and amusement ride safety. 
Here’s a look at bills he signed. 
- House Bill 244, dealing with double fines for speeding in work zones, says to qualify for a violation there must be signs posted warning of...

KDA approves more than 42,000 acres of industrial hemp for planting in 2019

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 1,035 applications to cultivate up to 42,086 acres of industrial hemp in 2019. The KDA also approved 2.9 million square feet of greenhouse space for hemp cultivation.  “The numbers tell you what you need to know about the excitement about hemp in Kentucky,” Quarles said. “The growth in the number...

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...

Department of Agriculture seeks applications for industrial hemp research pilot program

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2019 growing season. “I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 6,700 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research...

Pew Trusts: With Congress on the brink of fully legalizing hemp, legal challenges still remain

By Sophie Quinton Pew Trusts It’s a giddy time for the U.S. hemp industry. Farmers are planting more acres. Businesses are selling more products. And with Congress on the brink of fully legalizing hemp, industry insiders are eagerly anticipating a boom. But even if the legalization provisions in the 2018 farm bill pass, hemp will remain a tightly regulated crop facing plenty of regulatory and legal...

Sec. Quarles: As we celebrate Hemp History Week; let’s help Kentucky make its own mark

This week Americans celebrate Hemp History Week. Here in Kentucky, we know industrial hemp is a crop that connects our past to our future. A quick survey of the crop’s history proves it is time for us to make our own mark on hemp history and allow it to flourish. Quarles The history of the United States is entwined with hemp’s history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are believed to have...

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...

Pew Trusts: This extract Is driving a hemp gold rush in states like Kentucky, but Issues of legality remain

By Sophie Quinton Pew Charitable Trusts In a few months, Dani Fontaine Billings will plant 80 acres of hemp at her farm in Longmont, Colorado, out behind a clapboard farmhouse with views of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the plants will grow tall, like bamboo, and yield grain and fiber for textiles and other industrial products. Others will look and smell like marijuana and yield a cannabis compound....

Department of Agriculture Hemp program approves more than 12,000 acres for planting in 2018

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has approved 225 applications from growers to cultivate up to 12,018 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018. More than 681,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2018. “Kentucky continues to lead on industrial hemp research, exploring every aspect of this versatile crop,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan...

Ag Commissioner calls on Congress to remove industrial hemp from list of contolled substances

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has called on Congress to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances under federal law and challenged the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) position on consumable hemp-derived products in remarks delivered Wednesday at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Industrial Hemp Advisory Board meeting. “When I became Commissioner...

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...

State legislative panel has questions about THC content of industrial hemp raised in Kentucky

Industrial hemp legally grown in Kentucky is not considered marijuana. It has only a fraction of THC—or tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive compound—found in marijuana. And state regulators aim to keep it that way. Around 100 pounds of industrial hemp grown under Kentucky’s three-year old Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program were destroyed just three weeks ago after the state found the crop...

Rural Blog: Half of state counties producing industrial hemp as farm interest increases

There’s a growing interest in industrial hemp production across Kentucky, drawing considerable crowd sizes to recent seminars in Christian, Clark and Shelby counties, Ryan Bowman reports The Farmer’s Pride. Tom Keene, an agronomy specialist who focuses on hemp and forages for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, told Bowman, “In 2016, according...

Agriculture Commissioner Quarles praises House passage of industrial hemp legislation

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles praised the passage in the Kentucky House of Representatives of landmark legislation that aligns Kentucky’s industrial hemp research pilot program with the federal Farm Bill and adds important law enforcement provisions. Senate Bill 218 now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin for his signature. Senate Bill 218 bolsters the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA’s)...

Kentucky Agriculture Department approves up to 12,800 acres for industrial hemp planting in 2017

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has approved 209 applications from growers who have been cleared to cultivate up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017, nearly triple the number of acres that were approved for the previous year. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017. “By nearly tripling hemp acreage in 2017...

UK College of Agriculture sets industrial hemp field day for Thursday at Spindletop

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will host an industrial hemp field day Aug. 11 at UK’s Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington. The field day begins at 8 a.m. with donuts and coffee provided by Sunstrand. At 9 a.m., UK’s industrial hemp research team will introduce themselves to participants and a series of updates will follow. Tom Keene, UK hemp extension...

Kentucky hemp has growing market potential, state legislative panel told

More than half of Kentucky’s industrial hemp crop this year can be traced to nineteen counties, 58 farmers and one company in Winchester. With 23,000 pounds of imported hemp seed destined for 2,466 acres, Atalo Holdings is a superpower in hemp production and processing in Kentucky. Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) Executive Director Warren Beeler told the Tobacco Settlement Agreement...

Kentucky poised for third year of hemp research projects, anticipates near 4,500 acres of planting

Kentucky is ramping up its industrial hemp pilot projects this year to build on the research of the past two years, positioning the state to develop a robust research program. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has authorized planting of nearly 4,500 acres of hemp for pilot projects this year, compared with about 900 acres of hemp production last year and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of pilot...

Kentucky will be ‘epicenter’ of industrial hemp production, Comer tells conference

An up-close view of a hemp at University of Kentucky’s 2014 research plot (Photo from UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment)   Industrial hemp will cover tens of thousands of acres and generate thousands of jobs in Kentucky in the near future.   That was the message from Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer as he spoke to hundreds of hemp growers, processors and enthusiasts...

Vending machines selling industrial hemp products could be coming to a city near you

This graphic, which appears on the Green Remedy website, illustrates many uses for the hemp plant. (Click for larger image)   By Greg Paeth Special to KyForward   A Bardstown company that sells products made with industrial hemp through its website plans to begin offering those items in specially designed vending machines in some of the state’s larger cities.   All of the products...