Last week Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell announced his support of the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018.” The news shocked Americans given the conservative approach Senator McConnell has taken in his 33 years in Congress, but many Kentuckians saw it coming.
Senator McConnell came to accept hemp in 2013 after sitting down with the University of Kentucky Agriculture Department and he became one of hemp’s champions who introduced Sec 7606 into the 2014 Farm Bill.
The University of Kentucky has taken the lead on university research in the state out at Spindletop Farm and within varying other departments like Economics and Agricultural Engineering. Spindletop Farm has dedicated acreage since 2014 for variety trials, nitrogen trials, silage analysis, and basic agronomic practices.
More recently The Food Connection at the University of Kentucky joined the cause. The Food Connection serves farmers, food producers, students, and consumers by developing solutions and creative strategies for a vibrant, healthy, sustainable food economy in Kentucky. One of these strategies is their “First Friday” breakfast forums that bring together the community to learn about new strategies for the food economy In December they invited three hemp experts to discuss the new hemp economy.
Over the last four years, as Kentucky and other states have enacted hemp legislation to produce and research domestic hemp, a new burgeoning economy has risen from the soils. Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s press address is a major step in legislative reform for the crop and will aid in progressing investment and innovation for a superfood, fiber and nutraceutical.
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