MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University and the Hutson School of Agriculture will hold a kickoff celebration May 29. The event celebrates foundational partners for its new Center for Agricultural Hemp and Kentucky Congressman James Comer for his work in revitalizing the Commonwealth’s hemp industry.
The celebration, set for 10 a.m. in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center, will feature representatives from each foundational partner and words from Congressman Comer. The event is open to the public, and no RSVP is required.
Established earlier this year, the center will focus on several primary topics and initiatives involving agronomy, cannabinoid science, agribusiness, economics and finance, animal feeds and fibers, education, hemp policy, workforce development and agricultural hemp farming.
The new center will be administered by the University’s Hutson School of Agriculture in coordination with industry partners while continuing to position Murray State as a leader in research, education, policy and innovation within the hemp industry.
To date, five leaders in the hemp industry have joined the project: CV Sciences, Vertical Wellness, GenCanna Global, Unified Ag Holdings, Inc. and Fibonacci HempWood.
“We’re extremely appreciative of the work that Congressman Comer and our partners have put into making agricultural hemp a viable crop in Kentucky,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. “Congressman Comer’s tireless work on the legislative end and our foundational partners’ work in the fields and processing facilities have paid dividends in bringing this industry back.”
The University’s leadership within the area of hemp exploration is historic and diverse within higher education. Murray State planted the first legal agricultural hemp research plot on May 12, 2014, with seeds supplied by CV Sciences. Since that time, the University has been on the front line of exploration of the crop, hosting field days while continually working with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, local farmers, researchers, legislators, companies and partners to assist in the development of the industry within the region and commonwealth.
The 2018 Farm Bill, which reclassified hemp as an agricultural commodity, has continued to extend excitement and further interest toward the crop and its many possibilities. In the past five years, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture pilot program has expanded exponentially under the leadership of Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. The KDA recently approved an expansion in planting to include up to 50,000 acres in the 2019 crop production year, with a substantial amount of this acreage within Murray State’s service region.