James Comer

Erik Fenderson (Wikimedia Commons)

  The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is preparing to go to court to get 250 pounds of hemp seeds released to the state.  The seeds, imported from Italy, are being held at a UPS warehouse in Louisville.  The Drug Enforcement Administration argues a special permit is needed from the federal agency, despite language in the Farm Bill.                                               

Kentucky Hemp Research Project Looms Near

May 5, 2014
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.

Ed Reinke / AP

Guns and knives once intended as political gifts during the Richie Farmer administration of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture have generated $21,415 at auction.

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Western Kentucky Republicans gathered at Murray State University’s Curris Center this weekend for the Calloway County GOP’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, themed around the prospect of flipping control of the Kentucky House of Representatives to Republican control.

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An amendment legalizing hemp production for research has made it into the Farm Bill that will be up for a vote soon in Congress. The amendment, co-sponsored by Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, allows universities and state agriculture departments to grow hemp for study purposes.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is challenging leaders in eastern Kentucky to accept the decline of coal production and invest in a new economy to help pull the region out of poverty.

"A lot of leaders in Eastern Kentucky keep talking about ‘coal is the answer and there is a war on coal.’ I’m a friend of coal. I support the coal industry. But the coal industry’s future doesn't look bright and we have to look beyond that and learn to develop a new economy in Eastern Kentucky," he says.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

Kentucky's Homegrown by Heroes program which features farm goods produced by military veterans is spreading nationwide. 

Kentucky made back most of the money spent on equipment for the Department of Agriculture's now-defunct fuel lab in an auction today.

Division of Surplus Property Director Danny Ford says total bids exceeded $1.8 million this afternoon. The state originally paid about $2 million for the equipment. Bids came in low Monday but increased as the auction’s close neared.

Sen. Rand Paul and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer are playing a game of chicken with the federal government over the growing of industrial hemp in the state.

Encouraged by the state’s Industrial Hemp Commission, Comer and Paul plan to draft a letter to U.S. Department of Justice indicating that Kentucky will proceed with adopting regulations and issuing permits for farmers to begin planting the controversial crop as early as next February, unless they are told otherwise.

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Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says Republicans need to focus on the economy in order to win statewide office, as opposed to stressing social issues.

In an interview at WKU Public Radio Wednesday, James Comer said the GOP has alienated a lot of key voting groups by making hot-button social topics the cornerstone of their campaigns.

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