More, bigger plots coming, advocate says
- By Eli Pace, New Era editor
If last year’s industrial hemp planting was a trial run, this year Christian County hemp farmers are going all out with what’s expected to be 85 total acres of the crop spread across four local pilot projects.
The first pilot went into the ground Friday at Jeff Davis’ Pembroke farm, said Katie Moyer, a local hemp advocate who’s been heavily involved in the push to legalize the crop, which can be used to make everything from paper to plastics.
“It was actually done in record time,” Moyer said of Davis’ second hemp planting. “He got the seed Friday and planted Friday evening.”
Winner of the chamber’s 2015 Famer of the Year award, Davis planted a half-acre of hemp last year on his 1,300-acre farm. This time, according to Moyer, he put down about five acres’ worth of seeds on a different strip of land.
That’s a small chunk of the roughly 85 acres that’s expected to be planted across the four local pilots, but depending on how far the seed goes, Moyer said, the actual acreage could be a little more or a little less.
Compared to the two half-acre pilots planted last year in Christian County, that’s quite the step up.
“Yeah, big time,” Moyer said.
If everything goes according to plan, seed for the largest of the Christian County hemp pilots could be planted as early as Tuesday. When the seeds sprout, the crop should be visible from the Pennyrile Parkway at the Crofton interchange.
“This one is going to be very big and very visible,” Moyer said, adding that, because of media coverage and increased hemp awareness, more and more Kentucky farmers are showing interest in the crop.
“People really had an opportunity to see what was going on (last year). It’s like a snowball effect. We’re definitely a lot busier now than we were last year.”
In line with that growth, Moyer and a handful of individuals have formed a new company called “Legacy Hemp.”
Reached over the phone Monday, Moyer said she was working on filing the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State for what is to be a certified seed breeder that’s being created to sell hemp seed to Kentucky farmers and facilitate some of the processing that’s involved with taking the crop to market. A company website is in the works.
“Because everything is so new, we’re really feeling things out,” she said.
Moyer explained that, more than anything, she hopes people realize industrial hemp is not marijuana.
The two are related plant species, but hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the chemical that can register as high as 30 percent or more in marijuana and produces intoxicating effects in humans.
Because of the high visibility of this year’s crops, Moyer also said she hopes any would-be pot users don’t make the mistake of thinking hemp is an illicit crop, try to smoke it or steal any of the hemp plants to sell for a profit.
Reach Eli Pace at 270-887-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.