Kentucky officials are expecting a significant jump in hemp cultivation during 2017. By years end, compared to a year ago, hemp acreage could grow three times.
The Department of Agriculture is giving the go-ahead to 209 applications for growers to cultivate almost 13,000 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes.
Federal law still places the plant on the list of controlled substances. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said his objective is to position growers and processors to be national leaders in industrial hemp production.
In addition to grower applications, the Ag Department also approved 11 new applications from processors. Five universities will carry out additional research projects this year. State officials say the recent decline in commodity prices may be contributing to increased farmer interest in hemp.
© 2017 WEKU