A group of Kentucky military veteran farmers say they will plant a crop of hemp seeds this week following a federal court hearing.
The Kentucky Agriculture Department had sued the Drug Enforcement Agency over the DEA's seizure of hemp seeds imported for research. A judge ruled that the seeds can be released with the proper permits.
Michael Lewis, an army veteran and Rockcastle County farmer, will be among those growing hemp.
"I think it's a victory for everybody," said Lewis. "I mean, it's good, let's have this dialogue. Let's get this square because farmers need to be growing this crop. We need to move forward, we don't want to be in a situation like Colorado is with 300 farmers or whatever signed up and they can't do anything. Let's get the crop on the farms and do what it takes to get it there, and I think we did that."
Lewis said he plans to obtain a permit early this week to plant his first hemp crop.
“I have to fill out an application process and go before the judge and fill out the paperwork, and once the paperwork is approved, we’ll plant hemp," said Lewis. "Universities are free and clear to plant hemp.”
Farmers had planned to plant the seeds last week, but the event was delayed due to the seizure and lawsuit. Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner and much of the congressional delegation have been outspoken advocates of industrial hemp, saying it could be an economic boon to farmers.
See more of our coverage about the hemp seed saga and the federal law that's allowing the growing of hemp.