industrial hemp

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  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.

What Role Can Hemp Play in Kentucky's Future Ag Economy?

May 30, 2014
D-Kuru, Wikimedia Commons

It’s a cool, overcast afternoon at Gaining Grounds Farm, about 60 miles south of Lexington. About 90 people, many of them veterans, farmers, or a combination thereof, are seated under a makeshift tent, taking refuge from a light rain that’s drizzling Gaining Ground's undulating 425 acres.

'Growing Warriors' To Begin Planting Hemp This Week

May 19, 2014
Wikimedia Commons (Theornamentalist)

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. 

Lawsuit over Hemp Seeds Heard Today

May 16, 2014
Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner says he’s looking forward to a court hearing today over his department’s lawsuit against the federal government. James Comer sued three government agencies—including the U.S. Justice Department—over a 250 pound shipment of hemp seeds being held by federal customs officials in Louisville.

Hemp Seeds Face One Final Hurdle Before Making Into Kentucky Soil

May 8, 2014
Erik Fenderson (Wikimedia Commons)


A shipment of hemp seeds from Italy has made it to Kentucky, but there’s a problem.

Customs officials in Louisville have so far refused to release the 250 pound shipment to the state Agriculture Department.

Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons

As the first of five Kentucky hemp research tests draws near, local farmers and officials are considering the plant’s economic viability.

John Null

Kentucky universities with permission to grow industrial hemp are hitting roadblocks to obtain seeds, as planting season nears an end.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is offering to assist hemp supporters as the state prepares for the start of a hemp-growing pilot program this year.  The pilot projects were made possible by the passage of the United States Farm Bill that was signed into law by the President on Feb. 7.