FRANKFORT (Nov. 16, 2021) – The window to apply for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2022 hemp licensing program is now open, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced.
“The nation’s hemp industry continues to face challenging headwinds, including continued regulatory inaction by the Food and Drug Administration toward cannabinoids,” Commissioner Quarles said. “As we enter the ninth growing season, we 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, 2022. New processor/handler applications may be submitted year-round. Annual processor/handler license renewals must be submitted by Dec. 31.
During last year’s application period, KDA licensed 450 hemp growers to cultivate up to 12,000 acres and 140 hemp processors and handlers for 2021. The Department also licensed 3.7 million square feet of greenhouse space for production. Of the 450 hemp grower licenses, 135 were “storage only” licenses for growers to market a previously grown hemp harvest.
The 2021 numbers reflect national trends for hemp production. According to a review of states with hemp programs, 30 out of 40 states reported reduced or significantly reduced applications for 2021.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implemented a final rule for hemp production. The final rule comes after state agencies, industry groups, and hemp growers across the nation provided feedback to USDA on the interim final rule. The final rule took effect March 22.
In line with the process outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, Commissioner Quarles submitted a state plan to govern Kentucky’s hemp program to USDA for the 2022 growing season. Kentucky’s state plan was recently approved and will be implemented in January 2022. The public comment window for the regulations will remain open until Dec. 31 and can be accessed by scrolling to 302 KAR 50 at this link. Comments can be e-mailed to Clint Quarles at Clint.Quarles@ky.gov.
For more information about the KDA’s hemp program, go to kyagr.com/hemp.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture