Winchester, Ky. – The Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation and Atalo Holdings, Inc. report that new markets for Kentucky’s organic hemp farmers will be announced at GoOrganic!, a seminar on organic agronomics to be held Feb. 29 at the Hemp Research Campus in Winchester.
Keynote speaker John Roulac – founder and CEO of the Hemp Fields, one of the world’s leading suppliers of organic superfoods – will announce an agreement to purchase Kentucky’s organic hemp crop.
“Demand for certified-organic foods is growing. We look forward to sourcing organic hemp from Kentucky farmers,” Roulac said.
The transition to organic farming methods can take two to five years, and Roulac is encouraging farmers to prepare now for this opportunity even though the USDA has instructed its National Organic Program’s accredited certifying agents to not certify organically grown hemp.
Annie Rouse, the executive director of the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation, sees opportunity despite this decision.
“The USDA’s new rule is out of step with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill which authorizes industrial hemp research in states with a regulatory program. Part of that research is to identify which varieties grow and produce the best hemp in organic soils. By the time Kentucky’s organic crop is ready for market, we anticipate the USDA policy will be revised or another certification authority will be in place,” Rouse said.
Atalo Holdings chairman Andrew Graves is enthusiastic about the future of Kentucky’s hemp crop. “We’re working with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and our state universities to provide research, development and commercialization opportunities for Kentucky’s hemp growers. Atalo has very exciting news about seed for our 2016 growers, improved agronomics and new processing facilities coming on line. This partnership guaranteeing a market for our organic growers is excellent news,” he said.
According to Rouse, this is the first in a series of educational seminars presented by the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation to be held at The Hemp Research Campus. “Our mission is to advance the U.S. industrial hemp industry through fundamental research and market development,” she said. “This is a step in the right direction.”
The GoOrganic! seminar brings in organic farmers and certification experts from Kentucky, the United States and Canada to educate growers on transitioning to organics and organic farming methods, as well as the current certification process for crops other than hemp.