Updated: Jan 19, 2019
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer joined farmers and industry leaders on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 to lay out an ambitious agenda of industrial hemp research projects and economic development initiatives in Kentucky in 2015.
“We’re here today to brand Kentucky as a leader in industrial hemp production,” Commissioner Comer said in a celebration at G.F. Vaughan Tobacco Warehouse #23 in Lexington. “We want to make Kentucky synonymous with hemp like Idaho with potatoes. … Hemp equals jobs and economic development.”
Commissioner Comer announced that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which administers the industrial hemp program in Kentucky, had approved 121 applications for hemp pilot program, including universities, growers, and processors, and that the approved projects total 1,724.25 acres.
Following the event, the department was informed that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration approved KDA’s permits to import seed. Many event speakers credited Commissioner Comer and the KDA with working to bring industrial hemp production back to Kentucky after almost 70 years.
The first pilot projects in 2014 were conducted by seven universities and 14 individual farmers under the supervision of the KDA. Projects investigated the production of more than 35 varieties of hemp on just over 30 acres.