Henry Clay Estate Makes History with Hemp Harvest

Sep 1, 2016

Credit Stu Johnson, WEKU News

A mixture of history and present day agricultural interests are interwoven on the grounds of Ashland near downtown Lexington.  Henry Clay’s estate was home to an education-based hemp harvest Tuesday.

Tall stalks of hemp were pulled up roots and all at the small demonstration plot at Ashland.  Alyssa Erickson, a principal in United Hemp Industries, says this project was partly about increasing the hemp comfort level, “We want people to come out, see it, touch it, feel it, be comfortable with it.”  “If it’s grown here at the Henry Clay Estate, you know, it can be grown anywhere,” added Erickson.

Kentucky’s well-known statesman had a significant interest in hemp.  Ashland Curator Eric Brooks says the Washington politician sought to increase yield with a good quality crop.  He says Clay talked about hemp and wrote about it regularly, “We also have an agricultural textbook in which he writes a chapter, based on his experiences here at Ashland.  How to handle hemp.”

Erickson’s processing company plans to use the hemp for products like tea and bird seed.  She believes long-term hemp can play a role in bolstering Kentucky’s agricultural economy.  But, first she says it needs to be declassified and taken off the controlled substance list.​