Farm Bill boost: Kentucky hemp acreage more than doubles for 2019

Kentucky’s hemp acreage could more than double in 2019, with state agriculture officials attributing increased registrations to the new Farm Bill.

The state says it has licensed more than 42,000 acres for 2019 hemp production, up 163% from 2018, when Kentucky licensed 16,000 acres.

Only 6,700 acres were planted for hemp last year, the state said.

Kentucky also reported a jump in hemp producers, from 69 to 109.

The state licenses both growers and processors, but it charges more for licenses to grow hemp for flower production, the most common use of the plant.

Hemp processors in Kentucky reported $16.7 million in gross sales in 2018.

Kentucky submitted its hemp-regulation plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has 60 days to approve or reject them.

It’s unclear how the federal shutdown will affect the timeline for USDA action on hemp.