Lyons, K.1
1Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Kentucky, TOMPKINSVILLE, KY, 42167-1246


Kentucky’s industrial hemp program has experienced tremendous growth in just a few short years. In 2014, farmers planted 33 acres. The Farm Bill of 2018 made it legal to grow industrial hemp in all 50 states. In 2019, Kentucky farmers planted more than 26,500 acres of hemp. There was a great deal of interest in growing hemp, and there were more questions than answers about this “new crop”. I organized an Industrial Hemp Field Day to help educate the public on industrial hemp. The event was held on Sept. 23, 2019 at the ANR Agent’s farm. There was a three acre demonstration plot of hemp that attendees were able to view. Approximately one acre was being grown on white plastic and irrigated with drip tape; one acre under black plastic and irrigated with drip tape; and one acre was planted in a conventional seedbed and was not irrigated. Four individuals gave educational presentations: Warren Beeler, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, spoke about the emerging marketing issues. Dr. Bob Pearce, UK Hemp Specialist, covered production and economic topics. Doris Hamilton, KY Dept. of Agriculture Hemp Program Manager, spoke about the permitting process.  Ronnie Gearlds was the grower cooperator, and he reviewed key production points. Approximately 225 people attended from all over south-central Kentucky. They gained knowledge that will help them make their own decision on growing hemp in the future.

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