Davis: 2020 industrial hemp producer applications available Friday

There has been a lot of interest in industrial hemp production in the last few years.

Interest in growing the crop grew even more with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

This bill removed industrial hemp from the controlled substance list.

However, no person can grow, handle or process plants, viable seed, leaf or floral material without a hemp license.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture issues the licenses for growers who want to produce industrial hemp.

The application for a grower license for 2020 is scheduled to release Friday.

The KDA will accept applications from growers until March 15, 2020.

In considering becoming a producer of industrial hemp, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It is essential to become familiar with the regulations and the application process surrounding this crop.

An excellent online resource to visit is the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp website www.kyagr.com/hemp.

This website will allow access to the latest information and regulation surrounding the industrial hemp program in Kentucky, which is also where potential growers can access applications and apply to grow industrial hemp in 2020.

Answers for most questions surrounding regulations or application procedures for industrial hemp producers are available on the various webpages included on this website.

Another way to stay informed about becoming a producer of industrial hemp is to send name and contact information via email to Hemp@ky.gov, which will enroll interested producers in the KDA Industrial hemp email notification system.

This email system is used to send out information to growers that might include regulation updates, application availability, field day dates and locations around Kentucky, educational events and much more.

New regulations for the 2020 hemp licensing program are not available at the time of publication.

However, here are a few things to keep in mind.

There are multiple fees, including an application fee, a licensing fee and a “per farm entrance” growing location fee that is required to produce hemp in Kentucky.

These fees cover the costs associated with regulating the crop (testing, personal, etc.).

Each grower applicant will also have to undergo a background check as part of the application process.

There is a minimal crop size requirement of a one-fourth acre and 1,000 plants.

Greenhouses can be potential planting locations.

However, by regulation, industrial hemp cannot be produced in or adjacent to any structure used for residential purposes.

Potential growers must demonstrate farming experience.

The farming experience could include having filled out an IRS Schedule F at least once in the last three years or providing a farm serial number (FSN), which has been issued by the USDA Farm Service Agency, attesting to at least one year of full-time farm work.

KDA will also consider applicants with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from an accredited university.

For a complete listing of the KRS regarding industrial hemp, to learn more about the application process for growers, or to learn more information about the regulatory requirement of growing industrial hemp in Kentucky, visit the KDA website www.kyagr.com/hemp.

For more information, contact the Clark County Extension Office at 859-744-4682.

David Davis is a Clark County Cooperative Extension Service agent for for agriculture and natural resources.