Experimental hemp production expanding in Kentucky

Kentucky’s hemp production is taking deeper root as pilot projects expand in the second year of testing its potential.

Adam Watson, the state Agriculture Department’s hemp program coordinator, says spring planting season is expected to include at least several hundred acres of hemp. Statewide hemp plantings totaled about three dozen acres last year.

He says more than 100 farmers and processors -mostly growers – are expected to participate in the next round of pilot projects.

Last year’s tiny production turned into the state’s first legal hemp crop in generations. Growing hemp without a federal permit was banned in 1970 due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana.

Hemp got a limited reprieve with the federal farm bill, which allows hemp research projects in states such as Kentucky.

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