Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First legal U.S. hemp crops since 1970 planted in Ky.

For the first time since 1970 hemp seeds were legally planted in the U.S., with researchers at the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University planting small crops on Tuesday, Bruce Schreiner reports for The Associated Press. "The crop once thrived in Kentucky, but growing hemp without a federal permit was banned in 1970 due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana." (Lexington Herald-Leader photo by Pablo Alcala: Planting hemp seeds Tuesday in Lexington)

The Italian seeds, which had been held for several weeks by U.S. Customs agents in Louisville, who said importing them was illegal, will also be planted in about 13 acres throughout the state in the coming days, said Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Two acres are expected to be planted Thursday in Rockcastle County, where the crop will be turned into textiles and be converted into fabric used to make U.S. flags. (Read more)

"University of Kentucky researchers sowed a small plot of 13 varieties of hemp seeds," Janet Patton reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The plants are expected to be up in seven to 10 days and harvested in October. The hemp varieties will be evaluated for their seed and fiber production." Researchers "will identify varieties suited to production in Kentucky; assess potential weed, disease and insect problems; and quantify seed and fiber yield of varieties along with the effects of nitrogen fertilization," Patton writes. (Read more)

Projects are also planned involving researchers at Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville.

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