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Kentucky hemp growers and processors may apply for a hemp license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) hemp program for 2020 beginning November 15, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced.
 
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our hemp program,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We are making significant changes to the application process for the 2020 growing season to make it work better for Kentucky’s growers and processors. 2019 will be a record-breaking year for Kentucky’s hemp program, and we expect continued growth in 2020.” 
 
Among the major application changes in 2020:
 
  • KDA will accept grower applications from November 15, 2019, to March 15, 2020.
  • KDA will accept processor/handler applications beginning on November 15, 2019.
  • The KDA will host an online application on its hemp webpage, kyagr.com/hemp
  • The new online application will include a mapping function.
 
“Kentucky continues to be the tip of the spear on restoring this crop, but I always remind folks that we are still in the infancy of the restoration. Challenges persist, ranging from federal uncertainty regarding cannabinol to banking and lending issues,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Any business venture – especially in a new industry – carries risk, and the hemp industry is no exception. It is important that our growers and processors remain clear-eyed about the opportunities and challenges ahead of us in the years to come.”
 
For those interested in learning more about Kentucky’s hemp program, KDA will host a Kentucky Hemp Summit for growers, processors, and other interested parties on December 4, 2019, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. 
 
The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, gave hemp growers increased access to USDA programs, and outlined the minimum requirements a state regulatory framework must contain to earn approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal Risk Management Agency announced in August that certain hemp growers may obtain insurance coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Program in 2020.
 
For more information about KDA’s hemp research pilot program, go to kyagr.com/hemp.

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