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Judge reviews suit in hemp seed case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Agriculture Department officials say they're seeing progress toward ending a stalemate with the federal government over a shipment of hemp seeds meant for test projects.

Attorneys discussed the case Friday during a conference presided over by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II. Discussions didn't resolve the department's lawsuit seeking release of the seeds, and another conference is set for Wednesday.

Customs officials are holding up 250 pounds of seeds from Italy.

Agriculture Department official Holly Harris VonLuehrte (VON' LUR'-dee) said the agency plans to apply for an import permit to obtain the seeds.

Eight projects are planned in Kentucky, and six universities are helping with research.

Unresolved is whether private farmers can participate in the projects.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schecter says the government wants to be a partner, not an adversary.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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