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US (KY): Kentucky Department of Agriculture licenses 2021 hemp growers, processors

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles announced the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has licensed 445 hemp growers to cultivate up to 12,000 acres and 140 hemp processors and handlers for 2021. The Department has also licensed 3.7 million square feet of greenhouse space for production.

“These new numbers, while down, reflect what many industry experts have been expecting for a year or so,” Commissioner Quarles said. “The nation’s hemp market continues to face supply chain issues and uncertainty given the Food and Drug Administration’s inability to provide a regulatory framework for hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, products. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, I continue to believe there will be a long-term hemp market in the United States and that Kentucky will remain the leader on the national stage after the dust settles.”

Of the 445 hemp growers licenses, 130 are “storage only” licenses for growers to market a previously grown hemp harvest in 2021. The KDA oversaw 970 licensed growers and 178 processors in 2020. Kentucky growers reported growing 5,000 acres of hemp in 2020.

The 2021 numbers reflect national trends for hemp production. According to a review of states with hemp programs, 30 out of 40 states reported reduced or significantly reduced applications for 2021.


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