Kentucky is experimenting with industrial hemp – as dozens of farmers grow test plots covering 45-hundred acres. This is the second summer that the crop has been grown on Jane Herrod’s small farm along the Kentucky River in Fayette County. She says the experiment is filled with regulatory and farming challenges, keeping her realistic about industrial hemp’s future in Kentucky.
While farmers in China and Europe have been growing hemp for decades and Canada legalized the crop in 1998, it last flourished in Kentucky during World War II. Its revival is now pinned on the tightly regulated pilot programs – including the 166 applications approved this year in Kentucky.
Second Cut: Catherine Moore, who interviewed Kentucky farmers for an in-depth YES! Magazine article, agrees with Herrod – saying there’s a lot to be both optimistic and cautious about when it comes to industrial hemp. Moore says it has the potential for dual, even triple cropping.
Moore is also quick to point out that there is, in her words, “so much unknown.”
Kentucky’s U-S senators are co-sponsors of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would remove the crop from the controlled substances list.
Fourth Cut: Despite all the uncertainty swirling around the crop, Herrod remains a staunch believer in its future, holding to her dream of one day producing C-B-D (cannabidiol) hemp oil for an eager market.
The YES! Magazine article can be found online at yes magazine dot org.