Getting hemp seeds to Kentucky proving to be as challenging as getting crop legalized

05/07/2014 08:27 AM

While it took an act of Congress this year to allow Kentucky to start hemp growing pilot projects, not everyone has gotten the memo.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said over the weekend that only about 10 percent of the hemp seeds are in Kentucky at this point. Comer said officials in his department have been reaching out to border patrol and customs agents in port cities like Chicago where the seeds are supposed to enter the United States. Many of those officials aren’t aware that those seeds should be able to pass through.

But Comer said he’s still confident all five pilot projects between farmers and Kentucky’s public universities can get seeds before the end of the planting season.

One of the pilot projects, to test the growing of hemp for fiber in Mount Vernon, is expected to begin later this month, for instance.

Here’s what Comer said Saturday at the Kentucky Derby about the progress of getting hemp seeds into Kentucky:

The Kentucky General Assembly in 2013 approved the pilot programs to grow hemp, which has been illegal since World War II. The federal government still had to approve it, and several members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation helped get a provision into the Farm Bill, which passed in February, to allow the crop to be grown in pilot projects in Kentucky.


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