The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has announced that it will continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill for one more year. KDA stated that the decision was made responsibly move Kentucky’s hemp industry into the next phase in 2021 and beyond.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said his decision came after a number of discussions with the KDA team and industry stakeholders in Kentucky. Given the national hemp market’s volatility, he believes this decision provides as much stability for growers and processors as possible.
"The industry has changed dramatically, but the national hemp marketplace is experiencing some real challenges," Quarles stated, "I believe that the best thing a regulatory agency can provide is certainty."
In October, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) which established the federal regulatory framework for industrial hemp growth in the United States and gave states an option to operate their current programs for the 2020 growing year. Kentucky will operate its program under the pilot status provision of the 2014 Farm Bill for the 2020 growing year and use the extension to continue discussions with key stakeholders and USDA.
The KDA will be submitting comments to the USDA about the interim final rule before the January 29th deadline, and has encouraged industry stakeholders to submit comments to USDA about the interim final rule before the January 29 deadline. In his statement, Commissioner Quarles thanked USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach and his team for spending time with his staff discussing the IFR and the suggested guidelines. KDA will continue to work with USDA while planning to file a State Plan later this year for Kentucky’s hemp program in 2021 and beyond.