Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is predicting 2017 will be the biggest year yet for the state’s hemp program.
The commonwealth is now accepting applications for those who want to take part in the pilot research project next year.
Ryan Quarles wants to build on the increasing amount of hemp that’s been planted since the program began in 2014.
“In the first year, about 30 acres were planted. In the second year, about 900. This year, over 2,000. And we fully expect there to be substantial growth in 2017,” Quarles said.
More information on Kentucky's program, including the 2017 policy guide and a downloadable application, can be found here.
Kentucky is running its program under a federal law that allows industrial hemp pilot projects.
Quarles is hoping Congress will eventually loosen restrictions on hemp production even further.
He says the past two years have allowed the state to learn a lot about growing and manufacturing the crop.
“And also, develop a regulatory framework which our growers and producers can work within. We believe that Congress will take a serious look at the legalization of industrial hemp over the coming years.”
The Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner says if that happens, the commonwealth will be poised to be a national leader in hemp production and manufacturing.