Application period opens to participate in 2019 hemp program

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says the application period has opened to participate in the state's hemp pilot program next year.

Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the goal is to keep strengthening the effort to put hemp on a "responsible path toward commercialization."

In 2018, Kentucky's farmers planted 6,700 acres (2,711 hectares) of hemp, up from 3,200 acres (1,295 hectares) in 2017. The research program started with 33 acres (13 hectares) in 2014.

Applications to participate may be downloaded from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website. Grower applications must be postmarked by Nov. 30, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. EST. Processor/handler applications are preferred by Nov. 30, with a final deadline of June 3, 2019.

Two Kentuckians, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. James Comer, are leading efforts to legalize hemp in the next federal farm bill.

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