Hemp Applications Open in Kentucky
The window to apply for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) 2023 hemp licensing program is now open. During last year’s application period, KDA licensed 240 hemp growers to cultivate up to 5,530 acres and 93 hemp processors and handlers for 2022. Of the 240 hemp grower licenses, about 70 licensees planted hemp, growing just over 1,300 acres this year.
The 2022 numbers continue to reflect national trends for hemp production. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop acreage data reported to the Farm Service Agency, there were 20,677 acres of hemp planted nationally in 2022. That is down from 35,395 acres in 2021 and 147,471 reported to USDA in 2019.
Kentucky hemp processors and handlers, in an end-of-the-year filing to the KDA, reported $43.5 million in gross product sales in 2021. That compares with $130 million in gross product sales in 2020 and $193 million in 2019. Processors reported spending $33.7 million on capital investment projects in 2021 as compared to $138.9 million in capital investment in 2020, and $207.3 million in 2019.
“Regulatory inaction toward cannabinoids by the Food and Drug Administration continues to hamper the nation’s hemp industry,” says Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “As we enter the 10th growing season, we still believe this could one day be a valuable crop for Kentucky farmers, but we also encourage all hemp growers and processors to carefully consider all of the factors in this industry.”
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), which administers Kentucky’s hemp licensing program, is hosting an online application portal on its hemp webpage, kyagr.com/hemp. Grower applications, including renewals, must be submitted by March 15, 2023. New processor/handler applications may be submitted year-round. Annual processor/handler license renewals must be submitted by Dec. 31.