Across the country, state-based agricultural groups and farmers are looking for viable alternative crops and industrial hemp is an increasingly attractive option.
The Bluegrass State
Since 2014 the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has been running an industrial hemp program. Growers and producers must apply and be selected to participate in the research.
As part of the program this year nearly 13,000 acres of hemp will be cultivated in Kentucky. The industrial hemp program approved 209 growing applications, as Doris Hamilton, the state manager of that program told newsandtribune.com. In 2016, 2,350 acres of industrial hemp were cultivated, in 2015 only 922, and in the first year of the program only 33 acres of hemp were grown in the state.
The Last Frontier
Alaska state senator Shelley Hughes has introduced a bill to make growing industrial hemp in that state much easier. As the law stands, “A farmer in Alaska could technically grow hemp, but the crop would be regulated by the Marijuana Control Board. That would come with a pile of paperwork, burdensome taxes and regulations that wouldn’t make the crop economically feasible,” explains Travis Khachatoorian, writing for ktuu.com.
Should Senate Bill 6, known formally as “An Act relating to industrial hemp; and relating to controlled substances,” become policy, a grower would simply need to notify the Alaska Division of Agriculture to be eligible to cultivate industrial hemp.
Both states are cognizant of the potential industrial applications of hemp stalks, flowers, and grain. And, personal care and cosmetic ingredients are certainly among them. As research, processing, and production increases, so will the available supply of hemp.