Tag Archives: agricultural commissioner

Kentucky Farmers Ready for Growth of Hemp Industry

By Janet Patton | November 4, 2015

Tucked away off a narrow country road in Clark County, Kentucky, in the middle of a farm, 27 acres of hemp grew all summer. Now, the plants will be harvested and processed.

Kentucky, hailed as a leader by industrial hemp advocates, has grown the hemp. Now the state is working on growing the industry.

“In two years, we’ve come a long way,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is now running for Congress. “We’ve proven first of all that it’s not a drug, which was very important for the opposition to realize. And we’ve proven it’s economically viable, or there wouldn’t be 22 companies that have made an investment in the state. … What we’re doing now is working with the companies that want to go to the next step to commercialize the product. “

The plants in Winchester are part of the 100 acres of hemp – high in cannabidiol and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (the high-inducing chemical in marijuana) – grown this year for GenCanna, which moved from Canada to Kentucky to be in the heart of the hemp revolution. It deliberately chose to come to Kentucky over other states, including Colorado, because of the agricultural resources and the climate, both meteorological and political.

“We have been in this industry for many years, and we are setting a new bar in Kentucky,” GenCanna CEO Matty Mangone- Miranda said. “Kentucky’s kept the focus on industrial hemp” rather than cloud the issue with other forms of cannabis cultivation, as Colorado has permitted.

Mangone-Miranda, who estimates that hemp could become a billion-dollar industry, said his group is in hemp for the long run.

“The industry is likely to have a bubble, then stabilize with a market of diversified products,” he said, citing potential uses in sports drinks, nutritional products, supplements and more.

GenCanna has invested more than $5 million in Kentucky, according to company officials, although it has yet to see any revenue. That will come once the company is able to deliver a stable source of low-THC/high-CBD hemp.

“The only way to have hemp become an agricultural commodity is to grow lots of it and see what happens,” said Steve Bean, GenCanna’s chief operating officer.

Coming to Kentucky had other benefits, too. Many farmers were eager to get into the crop, which decades ago proliferated in the Bluegrass; hundreds applied to be part of pilot projects to grow hemp. The crop still can legally be grown only in affiliation with the state Department of Agriculture and entities that sign detailed memos of understanding.

Kentucky also has resources that in the past were used for tobacco that have converted well to hemp cultivation.

In fact, GenCanna’s headquarters is now in part of a former Philip Morris office building stuffed with former labs. The place was practically abandoned as the cigarette maker began retreating from Central Kentucky.

And next door is a processing center in a former tobacco seed plant, where GenCanna built a system to turn the chopped-up hemp plants into a sort of dried powder to sell as a nutritional supplement.

The Shell Farm and Greenhouses in Lancaster is turning its fields away from tobacco, growing 157,000 hemp plants on 40 acres outdoors and 3,500 plants in a greenhouse.

“And we’ll be growing it indoors all winter,” Giles Shell said. Shell’s greenhouses once raised flowers; now he’s working on hemp genetics.

“There’s no seed crop, so we have to take cuttings to get the plants in the field. So I’m selecting genetics, for a hardier plant – bigger, fuller,” Shell said. “We’ve got a problem with variegation or chimera, so I trying to select away from it.”

Next year, Shell intends to grow even more hemp.

“We’re going to quit raising our tobacco crop, and if we do any flowers, it will be downsized,” Shell said. “Last year, we raised 120 acres of tobacco. This year, we dropped to 80. Next year, we will drop to none. There’s not a market any more for tobacco and not enough money once you factor in labor and chemical costs.”

Both the offices and the processing center are shared with Atalo Holdings, another hemp entrepreneur company, this one formed by Andy Graves and other Kentuckians working on crushing hemp seed for oil and other fiber production. Graves also grew the 27 acres of hemp for GenCanna.

Other groups, including the Stanley Brothers of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil fame, also are pursuing the hemp’s potential.

Kentucky could be on the cusp of a green revolution – a hemp boom that could go in myriad directions or spiral into a bubble of speculation.

“It could,” Comer acknowledged. But, assuming that sometime in the next two years, Congress makes it legal for anyone to grow hemp, he said Kentucky should be well-positioned, with a jump-start on the infrastructure.

“We get requests every day for companies that want to start processing hemp. I worry that some may not have the credibility of some of the others, and that’s why it’s taking longer to certify, to get more background info,” Comer said. “We’re not picking winners and losers, but those that have credibility. Our reputations are on the line here, too.”

GenCanna has more contracts with farmers than any other company at this point, Comer said. It’s the only one in the cannabidiol business with signed contracts with national chains to buy their hemp product, he said.

“GenCanna is the real deal,” he said. “And they’ve given me assurances everyone will be paid, and all the farmers are happy.”

The Shell family, which has a three-year contract with GenCanna, certainly is now.

“We were very leery – I was the most reserved in my family of starting to do this,” Giles Shell said. “But … I felt like we were the best route to help commercialize this crop. Demand is really high, and supply isn’t there. Basic economics will tell you that’s profit.

“We’ve got a year ahead of everybody else that’s going to get into the game.”

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Information on “KCHHI”–Kentucky Hemp Health Initiative

 

 

LINK TO KCHHI :

Petition2Congress Logo

 

Some background on the “KCHHI” Petition.

It was re-written by Mary Thomas-Spears and modeled after the CALIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (shown below) which was started in 2012.

It is important because it represents “REPEAL” of “PROHIBITION” at the State, Federal and Local levels of Government in the United States, in OUR case

KENTUCKY!

If “WE, THE PEOPLE” want to regain our freedom as a people to be “self-governed” we must take this very important step to push for what WE

believe is right.

No one should be punished for growing, using as medicine or for recreational purposes and most certainly of all using “medicinal marijuana” for

OUR children’s HEALTH needs.  This is NOT to say that it is alright to give to a child under 18/21 years old when NOT being used medicinally! 

That having been, said NO CHILD should have to do without this God-given medicine because of Government intrusion into our lives!

I am praying that the citizens of Kentucky will examine the evidence – what we have seen so far is nothing more than Government

interference in our lives at the Statutory level – even when OUR children’s lives are at stake!

I realize that those with children in dire need are pressed to see ANY form of legislation enacted that would give their CHILD this medicine!

I can honestly say that if I were in that position I would leave the State of Kentucky for Colorado today!  NOT because I like what Colorado

has accomplished!  It is a mess out there – but at least my child would have what they need medically – forget everything else!

The only other alternative at this point is to try to “secretly” medicate my child and hope that I do not get caught and my CHILD be taken away

because the LAW doesn’t approve.  We all know the LAW is BULLSHIT!

I started preaching REPEAL in 2010 and Mary Thomas-Spears had it figured out before me.  Everyone thinks that this is not worth working on

and it is unobtainable.  I say it is!  If enough people will get behind the idea and we start telling our Government what we need as opposed to

letting OUR Government ‘TELL US WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO LET US DO!  WE ELECT THEM! Not the other way around – however this is changing

rapidly.  This is  a valid reason why all those who are eligible to vote MUST do so! Regardless of the fact that the elections are, at this point a “set up” we MUST

retain the right to the voting process – so everyone make sure they register and vote, even if you feel there is no reason!  At least it keeps the

freedom TO vote!

It is close to the point that our entire Country will be under total control of every aspect of OUR lives, up to and including Religion and CHILD

rearing.  If Kentucky lets this happen – so goes the rest of the Country!  (Check out the story :

Connecticut Girl Speaks Out After Being Forced to Undergo Chemo) – Industrialism at it’s worse in my opinion, and it is happening

everyday!  So stop thinking we CAN’T and start thinking YES WE CAN put an end to the tyranny  that is surrounding us and moving in on ALL of OUR freedom’s

as we speak. STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM PROHIBITION AND GOVERNMENT INTRUSION INTO OUR DAILY LIVES

FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THEIR DOMINENCE OVER US!

We lost the first Civil War to the Industrialists.   LET IT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!

If you do not understand this I urge you to watch “Hell on Wheels” an AMC production which very well explains how the Industrialists took over

and forced slave labor from one entity – the Agrarian (Farming) Community into the Industrialist building of the railroads and the war effort.

Everyone was forced into leaving the family farms for the Industrial Revolution.  As a result we ended up with corporate farming.

Of note:  The Emancipation Proclamation which “freed the Slaves” was NOT enforced in Kentucky because Kentucky had not seceded from the Union.

It was only a strategy of War between the North and South and Kentucky “sat on the fence”  Don’t take me the wrong way…Slavery was never RIGHT!

And Abe Lincoln did NOT like Slavery which has been documented historically.  However, this information proves that if the Government seems to

be doing something “right” for the people you can bet it is for an ulterior motive.  With a legalize, tax and regulate mentality the Government owns us!

Fight for the freedom from prohibition of your freedoms!

Smk.

 

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SIGN FOR YOUR RIGHT AS A HUMAN BEING TO BE ABLE TO FARM AND USE CANNABIS!  A GOD-GIVEN PLANT!

 

Petition2Congress Logo

 

CALLIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE 2012

 

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Ky Ag looking for farmers to grow hemp

Last updated: December 04. 2014 11:07AM – 1102 Views

By Chris Cooperccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from the state’s farmers who would like to participate in an industrial hemp pilot project the beginning of next year.

The application deadline is Jan. 1. Logan County farmers can find and fill out an application at http://www.kyagr.com/hemp.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced earlier in the year that he is creating industrial hemp pilot projects in Kentucky. The pilot projects were made possible by the passage of the United States Farm Bill that was signed into law by the President on Feb. 7.

Commissioner Comer and Attorney General Jack Conway have been in direct communication for a couple of months regarding hemp production in Kentucky, and senior staff in both of their offices are reviewing language for pilot programs that ensure compliance with the parameters outlined in the federal farm bill.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program is the result of the passage of two separate laws: Kentucky’s Senate Bill 50, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill signed into law Feb. 7, 2014. Senate Bill 50 exempted industrial hemp from the state controlled substances act but also mandated that Kentucky follow all federal rules and regulations with respect to industrial hemp. The Federal Farm Bill allows state departments of agriculture, in states where industrial hemp is legal, to administer industrial hemp pilot programs in conjunction with universities for the purposes of research and development.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Industrial hemp refers to cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop. Hemp plants are low in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical). THC levels for hemp generally are less than 1 percent. Federal legislation that would exclude hemp from the legal definition of marijuana would set a ceiling of 0.3 percent THC for a cannabis variety to be identified as hemp. Marijuana refers to the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive cannabis varieties, which are grown for their high content of THC. THC levels for marijuana average about 10 percent but can go much higher.

Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, including: fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, composites, animal bedding, foods and beverages, body care products, nutritional supplements, industrial oils, cosmetics, personal care and pharmaceuticals.

An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year. China, Russia, and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations. They account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.

Canada had 38,828 licensed acres of industrial hemp in 2011. Canadian exports of hemp seed and hemp products were estimated at more than $10 million, with most going to the U.S.

Because there is no commercial industrial hemp production in the United States, the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production. Current industry estimates report that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.comm or call 270-726-8394.

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Kentucky Ag Commissioner Gives Farmers Green Light To Grow Hemp

 

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he hopes Kentucky farmers plant hemp in April.

Reported by: Aaron Adelson

Email: aadelson@wtvq.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

 

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he hopes Kentucky farmers plant hemp in April.

 
"We used to grow tobacco on the farm and now basically we just have cattle and grow hay, and it just

seems like a good alternative crop," said Steven Albert, a farmer from Green County. 

Albert came to a Hemp Commission meeting to learn more. 

The state legalized industrialized hemp if federal law would allow it.

Well, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not prosecute the two states that legalized marijuana.  Furthermore,

Comer says the man who wrote the memo testified the government would not prosecute hemp farmers.

Comer says this gives Kentucky the green light.

"This is a very exciting first step, and we’ll just have to see.

History will decide whether this was a defining moment in Kentucky agriculture, or not," said Comer.

He and Senator Rand Paul plan to send the DOJ a letter announcing the state’s intent to move forward.
"I can’t imagine why they would be opposed to it," said Comer.
Things are moving quickly, but farmers like Albert need to learn how to grow hemp.

"Farmers in Green County know how to grow tobacco, tomatoes, anything you can think of,

but when I ask them how do you grow hemp?  How do you harvest hemp?  Most of them say they don’t know," said Albert.

The state needs to work out some regulatory issues before anybody puts seeds in the ground.

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Comer says decision greenlights Kentucky hemp

 

ohhhh-so-beautiful

 

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner says a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Justice now clears the way for Kentucky farmers to once again grow industrial hemp.

Last week, the Justice Department announced it would not seek to challenge state laws regarding the medical or recreational use of marijuana. On Friday, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said he interprets that announcement as an opening for Kentucky to begin implementing Senate Bill 50, which sets guidelines for the production of industrial hemp, that passed earlier this year.

“It’s about time!” Comer said in a statement released Friday. “This is a major victory for Kentucky’s farmers and for all Kentuckians.”

Comer said the DOJ announcement marks a major change in policy.

“Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp,” Comer said. “But through a bipartisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand. We refused to listen to the naysayers, passed a hemp bill by a landslide, and our state is now on the forefront of an exciting new industry. That’s called leadership.”

Comer also announced that Brian Furnish, chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission, has called a meeting of the group for Sept. 12, at which Comer and Furnish will urge the commission to move forward with the administrative framework established by the hemp bill.

“My hope is that we can issue licenses and get industrial hemp in the ground within a year,” Furnish said.

Comer said he believes the passage of the hemp bill will allow Kentucky to be proactive, rather than reactive, in creating jobs.

“Had we not passed the framework to responsibly administer a program, we would be lagging behind right now, rather than leading the pack,” Comer said. “I am so grateful to our federal delegation for its support, especially Sen. Rand Paul and Congressmen John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie, who courageously testified in support of this job-creating legislation.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Paul issued a statement, supporting Comer’s move.

“I support Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in his efforts to move forward with the production of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth,” Paul said. “This fight has always been about jobs and providing another opportunity for Kentucky’s farmers, and I expect the Obama Administration to treat all states equally in this process. I will continue to fight at the federal level to enact legislation to secure this new industry for Kentucky.”

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