A Tribute to Kentucky Hemp Pioneer Dr. David Williams

On Thursday, June 27th the Kentucky hemp industry lost a true visionary and pioneer, Dr. David Williams. Dr. Williams was an essential and influential leader in the hemp revival -- from his research efforts to his role as an avid spokesperson.

Dr. David Williams discussing hemp research trials at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment on August 13, 2015. - Photo By Kentucky Hempsters

According to his University of Kentucky biography, Dr. Williams was involved in agronomic science for his entire career.  This includes positions as a practitioner, researcher, and teacher. He also served in leadership positions in several national, regional, and UK organizations/committees. In 2014, he was selected to lead the industrial hemp agronomic science research efforts within the UK Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences 2014-present and provided many local, regional, national, and international presentations on the science of industrial hemp production.

We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Dr. David Williams, and express our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. Dr. Williams and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment have been wonderful partners to us over the past four years, and we sincerely appreciate everything he contributed to our efforts, but most importantly to the hemp industry in Kentucky and nationwide.

Kentucky Hempsters co-founder Kirstin Bohnert is pictured (far left) inspecting University of Kentucky hemp crop with 2015 hemp project team on September 15, 2015. Dr. David Williams is pictured to the far right, and was essential in executing the project that season. - Photo By Kentucky Hempsters

We are thankful we've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Williams off and on through various endeavors, starting with our collaboration through a hemp project we assisted with during the 2015 season (referenced above). The following Spring, we reached out to him about partnering with us to bring hemp back to Henry Clay's famous estate in Lexington for education. He agreed, and we planted the first crop on the property for the first time since the 19th century! We continued our partnership with the university and Dr. Williams joined us for our annual Hemp Dinner hosted at the Ashland for the next three years. We're grateful for his willingness to help us educate and advocate for hemp. He will be truly missed, and remembered as a strong leader on behalf of agriculture and the Kentucky hemp industry!

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