FRANKFORT, Ky. — The window to apply for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2021 hemp licensing program will open Monday, Nov. 16, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced.
“We believe there will be a long-term hemp market in Kentucky, but across America, the hemp industry has been having a difficult year,” Quarles said. “Acreage is down significantly across the nation in light of FDA regulatory burdens and overproduction concerns. There are some bright spots on the horizon, but we’ve always said we are building an industry from the ground up and that it is going to take time for the market to mature. As always, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture encourages growers to do their homework and assess the risk when evaluating whether or not to enter this industry.”
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, 2021. Processor applications may be submitted year-round.
KDA also communicated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it will take advantage of language included in the recent omnibus bill passed by Congress this year that allows states to continue operating hemp programs under the research pilot program provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill. The move is meant to help ensure a smooth transition for growers to the final rules planned to be issued by USDA next summer.
“With everything going on in the hemp industry nationally and the uncertainty with the pandemic, we think it is prudent to take another year under the research status provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill as we transition our program to whatever final rules are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Quarles said.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has submitted two rounds of comments on the Interim Final Rule to USDA to encourage the agency to develop a regulatory framework aligned more closely with the rules in Kentucky.
For a copy of KDA’s comments to USDA, click here.
For more information about the KDA’s hemp program, go to kyagr.com/hemp.