Kentucky Farmers Hope for Legal Hemp Production

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If bills legalizing the production of industrial hemp are passed in Congress, Kentucky farmers could have a new cash crop on their hands.
 
Senate Bill 134 and House Bill 525 would remove federal restrictions on industrial hemp farming in the U.S. and allow states to regulate the crop.
 
Adam Watson of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture said they had a total of 20 farms and research universities that took part in a pilot project this past year. It was the first time hemp had legally been grown in the state in about six decades.
 
A scientist from the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop Farm, David Williams, said the  research is just beginning.
 
According to Williams, hemp seeds are rich in omega-three and omega-six fatty acids, and they can be crushed in to oils. The state’s Department of Agriculture added that the seeds have other nutritional value as well.
 
Williams said the stock can be used for fiber and that the female flower has chemicals that can treat epileptic seizures.
 
Currently, industrial hemp seed sells for 70 or 80 cents a pound in Canada. 
 
That is a higher yield than the current Kentucky market rate for corn, which is around seven cents a pound.
 
The Department of Agriculture said there’s not enough research for an exact comparison right now, because it’s hard to determine the demand for hemp since it’s not legally sold in the United States.
 
Researchers said they have to learn how to process hemp efficiently, for farmers to make the most money.
 
However, they believe the potential is there.
 
Williams said the government has the right idea to research the plant and production first and decide legislation later.

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