Hemp

Whitney Jones / WKMS

Half of Tennessee farmers who participated in the state’s return to industrial hemp farming have yet to apply for a permit to grow the highly regulated seed again. 

In 2015, approximately 50 farmers signed up to grow the crop. With two weeks left to apply, WBIR-TV reports that only 25 farmers have applied.  

Cocke County farmer Chuck Mason says he thought the crop would be a "gold mine," but when seeds arrived more than a month late due to customs delays, the crop turned into a bust. Mason says he will return to growing hay this year.

Ryan Quarles / Facebook

Kentucky’s new agriculture commissioner says he will pick up where his predecessor left off when it comes to industrial hemp. 

Ryan Quarles was in Bowling Green Friday for the Kentucky Commodity Conference. 

Newsweek reporter Jessica Firger recently wrote a story in which she described the challenges for Kentucky farmers growing the plant.

On Tuesday, Firger discussed with Kentucky Public Radio how the state’s fledgling hemp industry is providing an alternative for down-and-out tobacco farmers in the state.

Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky farmers are planting more than 1,700 acres of hemp  as part of the second year of the state’s industrial hemp research program, with 256 of those acres in west Kentucky.

D-Kuru, Wikimedia Commons

The second year of Kentucky's research hemp production is underway. 

The planting season officially kicked off Thursday at the University of Kentucky demonstration site.  Statewide, about a thousand acres of hemp will be planted, compared to 33 acres last season.  

Whitney Jones, WKMS

Around 120 Kentucky farmers will grow hemp this year as the state enters its second of five years of hemp research and testing as allowed under the Farm Bill.

Adam Watson is the industrial hemp program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. He says though growing hemp commercially isn’t legal yet, there’s growing interest in the crop.

The application window is now open for Kentucky farmers and processors who want to grow hemp for research in 2015. 

Several Kentucky universities, including WKU, grew hemp this year for the first time in decades.  The application deadline for the next round  is January 1.

The first round of pilot projects yielded a lot of data about production methods, seed varieties, and processing techniques. 

"This past year we were as far west as Murray and as far east as Bath County.  We'd like to see that continuation or even expansion on either end," said Adam Watson, Industrial Hemp Program Coordinator in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  "Definitely, we have different growing environments in Kentucky."

Applications are available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at www.kyagr.com/hemp.  Applicants who are selected will undergo background checks and site visits.

Whitney Jones, WKMS

More than six months after Kentucky lawmakers passed legislation allowing limited trials for cannabidiol epilepsy treatments, doctors have not been able to begin them.

Kosair Children’s Hospital Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Director Karen Skjei says she is waiting on FDA approval for the trials. She says one potential obstacle is if the agency requires trials with animals before testing the treatment for people.

Murray State University, Facebook

Murray State University hosts representatives from Frankfort and statewide agencies in the energy sector today for an observance of National Bioenergy Day (#bioenergyday) at the Equine Center. Sessions include conversations on energy strategies involving advanced biofuels, woody biomass and the first modern legal harvest of industrial hemp in Kentucky (today at Murray State).

The observance also includes the official lighting of Murray State's bio-burners and the announcement of a state wood energy grant. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte gets the details from Tim Hughes, Director of the Division of Biofuels of the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence. 

Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in decades, hemp has been legally harvested from Kentucky soil. The cutting of the test plot happened Tuesday on a University of Kentucky farm.

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