Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles applauded a national organization of government agriculture officials for adopting a new hemp policy that recognizes its economic potential and encourages uniformity in regulation. Commissioner Quarles authored the policy based on Kentucky’s existing hemp regulatory framework.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) adopted the new policy at its annual Winter Policy Conference.

“Updating our hemp policy to ensure consistency in testing and regulation serves states by anticipating and addressing challenges before they develop,” said Commissioner Quarles. “It’s important that we are proactive in our policy-making so that paths are clear and opportunities are present for hemp growers. As second vice president of NASDA, I was honored to write this policy platform to ensure consistent national hemp regulatory standards.”

NASDA urges USDA to consult state departments of agriculture and release guidance on the promulgation of hemp regulations in the 2018 Farm Bill. Commissioner Quarles said the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) hemp program staff stands ready to assist USDA and the states in the process of developing hemp regulations.

“NASDA has long supported the declassification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance because it provides farmers opportunities to diversify their operations,” NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn said. “I am thrilled that the farm bill accomplished this, and that NASDA members, as the top agricultural leaders of their states, will regulate industrial hemp cultivation with federal agencies.”

The new NASDA hemp priorities read:

    NASDA supports consistent legislation to assist state legislatures in their efforts to enact laws permitting hemp production within their jurisdictions in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill.

    NASDA supports the development of uniform standards for field sampling and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) content testing with gas chromatography (GC) methods.

    NASDA encourages research in all aspects of hemp from production to finished products.

    NASDA supports the production, processing, and commercialization of hemp.

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.  

Kentucky’s hemp research pilot program is in its sixth year of operation in 2019. The KDA conditionally approved 1,035 grower applications to cultivate up to 42,086 acres of hemp this year. To find out more about Kentucky’s program, go to kyagr.com/hemp.