The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved up to 12,018 acres for growers to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018.
The KDA said in a release on Tuesday more than 225 growers are approved this year, up from 209 last year.
Applicants were asked to identify which component of the plant would be the focus of their research, including floral material, grain or fiber. Many selected more than one. Approved applicants total 185 for floral material, 103 for grain or seeds, 66 for fiber.
KDA provides GPS coordinates of approved planting sites to local law enforcement. Participants must pass background checks and consent to inspections.
In 2017, participants planted the highest number of acres in recent history at more than 3,200 acres. Acreage amounts planted in previous years: 2,350 in 2016; 955 in 2015 and 33 in 2014.