FRANKFORT, Ky. — The window to apply for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2020 hemp licensing program is now open, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced.
“Kentucky’s hemp industry had a banner year in 2019 with nearly 1,000 growers and an influx of processors,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We expect that momentum to continue in 2020, and we look forward to seeing more farmers apply to grow this crop that connects Kentucky’s past with its future. At the same time, we strongly urge anyone considering growing hemp to make sure they fully understand the risks as well as the opportunities involved in entering an emerging industry.”
For the first time, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), which administers Kentucky’s hemp licensing program, is hosting an online application portal on its hemp webpage, kyagr.com/hemp. Grower applications must be submitted by March 15, 2020. Processor applications may be submitted year-round.
The KDA will hold a Kentucky Hemp Summit on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The event is designed to provide applicants, growers, and processors an opportunity to learn more about hemp production, the hemp industry, Kentucky’s plans for 2020, and the new online application process. In addition to educational sessions, the Summit will feature a tradeshow.
Early registration costs $25, includes lunch, and can be completed online at kyagr.com/marketing/hemp-summit.html. The deadline for early registration is Nov. 20. KDA will accept late registrations until Nov. 26 for $50 (includes a $25 late fee). Pre-registration is required; on-site registration will not be available.
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). In October, USDA published an interim final rule allowing hemp to be grown under federally approved state plans, establishing a federal plan for states that do not have a state plan, and making hemp producers eligible for several USDA programs.
After the interim final rule was published, Commissioner Quarles announced that the KDA would review Kentucky’s hemp program and the USDA rule.
For more information about the KDA’s hemp research pilot program, go to kyagr.com/hemp.