12,000 acres approved for Kentucky hemp growth in 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT)- The Kentucky Division of Agriculture says they have approved over 12,000 acres on Kentucky land for hemp growing and research in 2018.

The more than 681,000 square feet of greenhouse space will be used to grow and continue the study of the crop.

“Kentucky continues to lead on industrial hemp research, exploring every aspect of this versatile crop,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Because of the research conducted by our growers, processors, and universities, I am more optimistic than ever that we can put industrial hemp on a path to widespread commercialization once Congress removes it from the federal list of controlled substances.”

Quarles says his department approved 225 applications from growers to receive state permission to grow. In 2017, agriculture officials say the program planted the highest number of acres on record at more than 3,200 acres with the approved 209 applicants.

The department says they will also provide law enforcement access to all the greenhouses for inspection to ensure growth is taking place responsibly.

“Here in Kentucky, we have worked hard with the law enforcement community to prove we can have an industrial hemp research pilot program that is consistent with the law,” Commissioner Quarles said. “I am proud of the relationship we have built.”

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