Hemp farming escalating in KY, downsizing in TN

While hemp production is rapidly expanding in Kentucky, the number of farmers sowing the crop is being cut in half in neighboring Tennessee.

In Kentucky, according to the Commonwealth Journal, the state has authorized 4,500 acres to be cultivated with industrial hemp in 2016, up from roughly 900 acres that were planted last year.

Kentucky began with a hemp pilot program in 2013 that included just 33 acres for cultivation, and the crop has proven quite successful for farmers who have sown it.

But in Tennessee, the 50 farmers that grew hemp last year saw such a dismal return on their investment that only 25 have signed up this year for another season, according to an ABC affiliate. The problem was that there was a delay in receiving seeds due to a customs problem, and as a result “the crop turned into a bust,” the station reported.

As a result, many farmers are switching back to more traditional crops, such as hay.