(KY) Resolution asks Congress to remove hemp from definition of marijuana

For Immediate Release

February 12, 2018

Resolution asks Congress to remove hemp

from definition of marijuana

FRANKFORT—Legislation asking Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act has cleared a House committee.

House Concurrent Resolution 35 sponsor Rep. DJ Johnson, R-Owensboro, told the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee that hemp has proven economically viable since a hemp research pilot project began here in 2014. Hemp production increased from 33 acres in 2014 to 3,200 acres in 2017, according to HCR 35, with nearly 50 hemp processors now operating in the state. 

“It’s becoming obvious it would be a great help to the state of Kentucky” for Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana under federal law, Johnson told the panel.

Kentucky amended its Controlled Substances Act in 2017 to exclude many hemp products from the state definition of marijuana.

As a concurrent resolution, HCR 35 would not become state law if passed by both the House and Senate. It would instead be a message forwarded to both Congress and the White House.

The legislation now goes to the full House for its consideration.

–END–

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Indiana House votes to allow Hoosier farmers to grow cannabis plants with low THC

2015 451429480-Hemp_Kentucky_NY117_WEB568305.jpg_20150406.jpg

The Indiana House voted unanimously Wednesday for a bill that would allow Hoosier farmers to grow industrial hemp — marijuana’s low-THC cousin.

Under Rep. Jim Lucas’ House Bill 1137, acres of the green leafy plants could be intermingled with rows of corn across family farms in Indiana. Currently only researchers at institutions are allowed to grow the plant, and are unable to do so for commercial purposes. Only Purdue University researchers are growing the product in the state.

The provision could see some push back in the Senate, or from individuals like Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has been outspoken against marijuana legalization.

The Indiana House and Senate appear to be on the same page when it comes to legalizing cannabidiol, a product derived from hemp. However, permitting the growth and manufacturing of hemp would take its legalization a step further.

Many senators were already reluctant to vote for a bill last year that legalized CBD oil for epileptic patients. That measure passed by a 36-13, compared to the unanimous vote in the House.

► More: Holcomb: Indiana stores can continue to sell CBD oil while lawmakers work on fix to law

► More: Indiana takes small step toward legalizing medical marijuana as House votes to study issue

Proponents say House BIll 1137 is a “jobs bill” and could lead to economic growth, while opponents worry about the legality of growing a plant with some similar properties to marijuana.

“Everything I’ve seen says industrial hemp is probably a harmless crop,” Senate leader David Long said. “I have no problem with that, I’m just not sure the federal government issue isn’t still holding us back.”

The federal 2014 farm bill allows states to permit the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes. Kentucky already has a broad industrial hemp pilot program, similar to the pilot program Indiana would begin with this piece of legislation.

Under Kentucky law, farmers can apply for a permit to grow and manufacturer industrial hemp and sell it for various products, such as CBD oil, hemp seed oil and fiber for car manufacturing.

The farm bill permits “marketing research” but also says hemp shouldn’t be grown “for the purpose of general commercial activity.”

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says its program follows federal law, but others in the industry aren’t so sure.

“There’s been no research that I’ve seen directly,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue professor who studies hemp. “It’s sort of a big wink: ‘Oh yea we’re doing research.'”

Indiana would face the same legal question if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.

The passage of the law could also be another step towards marijuana legalization, in the eyes of some social conservatives. Already the Indiana House unanimously passed a resolution to study medical marijuana, a unprecedented move for the GOP-led chamber.

The average Hoosier would be unable to differentiate between industrial hemp or marijuana, Beckerman said. Both are leafy and green and both can have a potent smell.

Industrial hemp, however, can’t get users high.

She also said someone could easily hide a marijuana plant in a field of hemp.

Despite legal concerns, Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture has pegged its program as a success. In 2017, Kentucky handlers grew 3,200 acres of hemp in 74 counties. 

“Because of the research conducted by our growers, processors, and universities, I am more optimistic than ever that we can put industrial hemp on a path to widespread commercialization once Congress removes it from the federal list of controlled substances,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a press release.

Hemp experts say the product could have the same potential in Indiana, once farmers figure out how to properly grow the product.

Indiana is already seen as an agriculture leader and is one of the top 10 agriculture producing states.

“In the long term I think it’s something that will allow our agriculture base to diversify and that’s always a good thing,” Beckerman said. “I think there’s a possibility of different industries developing from this.”

For example FlexForm Technologies, an Elkhart company, manufacturers mats and panel products. Currently the company has to import hemp. That could change if Indiana farmers start growing the product.

Another company, Healthy Hoosier Oil, could use the cold press seed processing they already use to make sunflower seed oil, on hemp seeds to create a food-grade oil.

CBD oil manufacturers could also start using in-state hemp to make their products.

Another issue lawmakers and lobbyist acknowledge they’ll have to solve is educating the public enough to understand the difference between the two plants.

“Industrial hemp has been misaligned with marijuana for the past 70 years or so,” said Justin Swanson, representing Indiana Hemp Industries Association. “It’s time for Indiana’s actions and policies to reflect the fact that industrial hemp is not marijuana and allow the reemerging market to thrive in Indiana once again.”  CONTINUE READING…

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at (317) 432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

Kentucky Congressman Champions Deregulation of Industrial Hemp

1/7/2018 |

Chris Clayton

A freshman Kentucky congressmen, and member of the House Agriculture Committee, attended the American Farm Bureau Federation convention on Sunday to promote his new legislation to deregulate industrial hemp nationally.

Rep. James Comer, a Republican representing Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District, was the state’s agricultural commissioner from 2012 to 2016 before being elected to Congress. During his time as ag commissioner, the state passed a bill to set up a regulatory framework to make industrial hemp a reality.

“That was six years ago. Today, Kentucky is the leading industrial-hemp producing state in the nation and 20 other states have passed similar legislation.”

Comer’s bill would reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural crop. The bill would make it clear it is not a drug and Comer said he does not support legalization of marijuana.

“I’m trying to differentiate between marijuana and hemp,” he said.

Hemp generally has less than .3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that creates the high in marijuana, which generally has 15% or more THC. That difference is “It is a crop that has a lot of potential, not just for farmers, but for manufacturing,” Comer said.

Hemp can still produce Cannabidiol (CBD) oil that Comer said can be a solution in managing pain, and possibly help address the country’s opioid crisis. CBD oil can treat pain in a non-addictive manner, he said.

“I think hemp has a very bright future, but we have to get the federal government off the backs of producers and give the private sector confidence that this is an agricultural crop and something worth investing in, not something they have to worry about some overzealous DEA agent or Department of Justice coming in and seizing their assets because they do not know the difference between hemp and marijuana.”

Beyond CBD oil, Comer said there is a Louisville company making fiber, as well as a fiber foam that is going into at least some automobile production. Comer said other auto manufacturers want to research further uses for auto interiors as well. There are also companies using hemp to produce animal feed and bedding, he said.

“We’re trying to utilize every part of the plant and I feel Kentucky has proven there is huge demand for hemp products,” Comer said.

Comer said his bill has House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., as a co-sponsor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also is going to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. McConnell had language in the last farm bill to help commercialize the crop in the state.

Comer said he will likely look to move his legislation through the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as Judiciary, but he said it is possible the bill might be included in the upcoming farm bill. Comer added, however, that at least some members of the House Agriculture Committee are leery of dealing with a hemp-legalization bill.

“The Ag Committee really is not as crazy about this as some of the other committees,” Comer said. “They hear hemp and they get scared.”

Comer’s bill comes, however, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to potentially reinstate more prosecutorial authority over marijuana even as more states are legalizing the drug. That could blur the lines in the debate about hemp as well.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also has endorsed the bill and the growth of industrial hemp as an agricultural industry.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Producers: Federal Rollback of Marijuana Enforcement Won’t Affect Hemp

By Nicole Erwin 44 minutes ago

Kentucky’s industrial hemp research program is on a trajectory for growth with highest number of approved applicants this year.  Hemp’s association with Marijuana however, remains a  hurdle for producers.

In a recent breakout session at the American Farm Bureau National Convention in Nashville hemp supporters discussed legislation to remove the crop from the DEA’s schedule one substance list.  Hemp is only legal in states with certified industrial hemp pilot programs like Kentucky. The federal government currently classifies hemp as an illegal substance due to its similarities to marijuana.

West Kentucky hemp processor Katie Moyer says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the ‘Cole memo,’ which reflects a passive federal policy on the enforcement of cannabis laws, won’t affect hemp or the proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017.

“Jeff Sessions seems to be acting pretty much of his own accord. It doesn’t seem like there’s a big appetite in D.C. for doing the things that Sessions is doing.” Moyer said.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has said the 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program, regardless of Marijuana enforcement. Moyer said what could happen in the 2018 Farm Bill remains uncertain.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved more than 12,000 acres for growers to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018.  The 225 approved participants must pass background checks and consent to inspections. Last year, participants planted the highest number of acres in recent history at more than 3,200 acres.

Kentucky Congressmen have filed federal legislation to ease restrictions on hemp; including the most filling by Congressman Andy Barr. H.R. 4711 which asks for protections for institutions that provide financial services to hemp businesses.

CONTINUE READING…

Ryan Quarles

@RyanQuarlesKY

Section 7606 of 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program! Just approved 12,000+ acres for 2018. https://twitter.com/jimhigdon/status/950191461701701632 …

8:46 PM – Jan 7, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE KY AG COMMISSIONER RYAN QUARLES

Grass-Oval-Sticker

Ryan F. Quarles

Commissioner

KY Department of Agriculture

Friends,

As we start 2018, I wanted to give you an update on the status of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.

2017 was a good year, and we did much to put this crop on a path towards commercialization in Kentucky once Congress acts to remove industrial hemp from the federal list of controlled substances.

Last year, our growers planted more acres of hemp than ever before, with more than 3,200 acres and another 46,000 square feet in indoor facilities. I am happy to report to you that we have approved more than 12,000 acres for industrial hemp research in 2018.

We also have more processors than ever before, filling a huge research need, and allowing us to explore the many applications of industrial hemp. It is imperative that Kentucky attract processors to drive innovation and spur economic development.

By now, applicants have been notified whether or not their 2018 grower applications were approved. Once conditionally approved applicants have attended mandatory training, the KDA will begin issuing licenses in March for the 2018 growing and processing season.

As you may know, I have still not received a formal response from the DEA, USDA and FDA regarding its 2016 Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp (SOPIH). This is disappointing. I sent another letter to the DEA last month requesting a response to our concerns about the SOPIH and also for a meeting to discuss my concerns. You can read my comments here and watch my video message to the DEA here. Specifically, recent statements by a DEA spokesperson claims that consumable hemp-derived product is illegal to consume, a view which we are currently pushing back against.

I am hopeful that 2018 will be a great year for agriculture all around, and specifically for our industrial hemp research pilot program. I want you to know that if you ever need anything from the KDA’s team, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of KDA’s Hemp Staff.

Happy New Year!

Ryan F. Quarles

Commissioner

KY Department of Agriculture

105 Corporate Drive

Frankfort, KY  40601

Fresh crop: Wilson among Kentucky’s new hemp farmers

Chad WilsonChad Wilson of Cave City stands next a row of industrial hemp he is growing on his farm called the Sacred Seed Farm. He is growing hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, which is extracted from the plant and can be used to treat certain illnesses. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times

BY GINA KINSLOW gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com

CAVE CITY – Seven years ago, Chad Wilson was anti-industrial hemp, but that’s mostly because he didn’t really know what it was. He thought industrial hemp and marijuana were the same thing.

But they’re not. Industrial hemp is different from marijuana, even though they are part of the same plant family.

“All my life I was told to stay away from the Devil’s lettuce, and that’s what I did as a good southern boy,” he said. “I didn’t understand that hemp wasn’t marijuana.”

The major difference between the two is that industrial hemp contains a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than marijuana.

THC is the hallucinogenic that is found in marijuana.

“There is no getting high off industrial hemp,” he said.

After seven years, Wilson has come a long way. He has gone from being anti-industrial hemp to being an industrial hemp farmer. He is also now a cannabis activist.

He grows hemp on land in Cave City he calls the Sacred Seed Farm, and says he got into industrial hemp farming by accident.

“I was doing organic farming on a little two acre plot in Bowling Green. I realized my son did not know how to grow his own food and seeds. At that point I was just doing traditional gardening, so I got into finding ways to teach him and stumbled across some stuff on hemp and the nutritional value,” he said.

Then he discovered that studies are showing an extract of industrial hemp can be used to aid in the treatment of certain illnesses, even epilepsy. He also learned that industrial hemp can be used to make biodiesel fuel and clothing, among other things.

Wilson planted a little more than nine acres of industrial hemp this year. He is one of two hemp farmers in Barren County, and one of many across the state.

“In order to be a hemp producer, it is a permitting process and that process is handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in cooperation with law enforcement so that everybody is on the same page. They know where every hemp production is,” said Chris Schalk, Barren County’s Agriculture Extension Agent. “I guess this is probably the second or third year for the permitting process.”

The federal farm bill of 2014 allowed state departments of agriculture to create industrial hemp research pilot programs.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted a roundtable discussion for Barren County producers in October at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service’s office off West Main Street, and during his talk he mentioned industrial hemp.

“Industrial hemp obviously gets a lot of publicity. We have a very strong industrial research hemp program here. We want to remind people that this may not be a silver bullet for tobacco, but it might be something that works for some farmers. It may not work for others,” he said. “My family used to grow it in World War II because the government asked them to for the U.S. Navy. For some people we believe this could be a profitable market.”

On Wilson’s Sacred Seed Farm, he grows industrial hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, a natural plant compound with significant medical benefits.

Wilson is co-owner of a Louisville-based business called Green Remedy.

“We buy the hemp from the farmers and then we take it into our facility and we have a CO2 extraction where we extract the CDB and then we make the tinctures and the capsules and the isolets and all the different kinds of products, and it is a Kentucky Proud Product,” he said.

Wilson is also owner of another business called Modern Concepts, which is located on the Sacred Seed Farm in Cave City.

“This is about a 4-year-old business that I moved from Bowling Green because I wanted to get back to small town America. I wanted to get back to country living and back home to the country,” Wilson said. “We’re losing farm families every day across the state and my family was one of the ones who lost their farm in the early ’80s due to the economics of farming. For me, it’s personal and it’s about getting my boys back to the farm and living simpler.”

Modern Concepts is a garden supply center that will offer organic, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponicly grown plants.

“We’re also a distributor for a “Shark Tank’ product – the Tree-T-Pee. What we’re doing is basically going out and finding the specialty product for this industry and bringing it to Cave City,” he said.

Industrial hemp farming has become an economically viable business for many producers.

“There’s not a lot crops out there right now that can bring the economic hope to the small Kentucky farm like this plant can right now,” Wilson said.

Despite all the things industrial hemp has going for it, it is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, along with other varieties of cannabis. But that is something U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, is hoping to change.

“I have a bill that I’m working on … that will address all of the updates that are needed with the hemp industry. And that’s the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017,” Comer said.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 will do a lot of things, but the main thing it will do is reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agriculture crop.

“That will solve a lot of the problems right there,” he said.

Comer, a former Kentucky commissioner of agriculture, referred to industrial hemp as being “a huge success story.”

“That’s something I was glad to be a part of in a big way and that’s kind of the issue that I’m identified with. When we passed it in 2013 in Kentucky, nobody would have predicted that here we are four years later and we are the leading hemp producing state in the nation,” he said. “It’s just been a real good success story. There’s a lot of hemp being grown in Kentucky. A lot of companies that are coming into the state are making a big private investment, so I think the future looks very bright for the hemp industry in Kentucky.”

Extracting CDB from industrial hemp is not the only thing that can be done with the plant.

“It is being used as fiber in textiles. It is being used as a heavy duty fiber in a lot of the tarps that is used in the military. We’ve got companies trying to use the fiber to make components for the automotive industry for mainly the dashboards and door panels for cars in Europe,” Comer said

Industrial hemp is also being grown for livestock feed.

“Murray State University is doing a lot of research on hemp from that aspect because it yields so much more per acre than fescue hay,” he said. “And they are testing the digestibility and the nutrient content. Cattle eat it. That’s for sure.”

Comer continued that he thinks more and more uses will surface for industrial hemp because it is a plant than can be used in so many ways.

“It can be used in bioenergy. It can be used in textiles. It can be used in pharmaceuticals. It can be used in construction. There seems like for every potential use of hemp there is interest in companies to come into the state and make an investment and start processing the hemp here in Kentucky, which would be good,” he said. “It would be good for farmers. It would be good for job creation.

“I think that once we can get legislation on the federal level that deregulates hemp, I think you’ll see more private dollars flow in and more processing facilities come online and therefore more farmers will grow it.”

CONTINUE READING!

Lab Testing Reveals Enviro Textile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

June 19th, 2013

Glenwood Springs, CO

Lab Testing Reveals EnviroTextile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

Hemp Marches Towards Military and Health Care Applications

Rampant staph infections continue to cost lives unnecessarily.  One powerful weapon to fight this scourge is being successfully deployed by China’s military: industrial hemp.  Staph is spread by direct contact and by touching items that are contaminated such as towels, sheets, privacy curtains, and clothing.  As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is estimated that each year 2 million Americans become infected during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 of them die.  MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of staph) is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections.”  One of the most important recent discoveries is hemp’s ability to kill surface bacteria, while cotton, polyester, and polyethylene allow it to remain on their surfaces for up to months at a time.

Unknown to many, hemp fabrics exist in today’s market that can replace each of these transmission prone hospital items.  Technological improvements for hemp textile development began in the early 90s when EnviroTextile’s lead textile engineer, Barbara Filippone, began working with hemp in China.  To date, the company has over 100 hemp and hemp blended fabrics available to suit any traditional fabric application.  In addition to staph resistance, other tests show hemp fabrics superior resistance to UV and infrared wavelengths, providing multiple applications for military use.

Hemp fabric was tested against two bacteria strains, Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia).  The fabric tested was a hemp blend, 60% hemp and 40% rayon.  The staph test sample was already 98.5% bacteria free during the first measurement of the testing, while the pneumonia fabric sample was 65.1% bacteria free.  These results, even prior to the tests completion, clearly display the fabrics unique capability at killing bacteria and reducing their spread.  This is especially imperative for healthcare facilities. 

For infrared testing, the same hemp blend was analyzed resulting in a test result of 0.893, or nearly 90% resistant.  Different blended fabrics have the potential to increase the percentage of this initial test, especially fabrics with a higher percentage of hemp.  Many of hemp’s applications will benefit our military, and EnviroTextile’s hemp fabrics have recently been approved by the USDA as Federally Preferred for Procurement under their BioPreferred Program. 

Thirty one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed pro-hemp legislation.  The potential for military and national adoption of hemp appears to be moving forward expeditiously considering a decade’s long ban.  As science continues to “rediscover” the benefits of hemp for society, the solution is emerging from the fog of prohibition.  Hemp is no longer an ancient fiber and it is well on its way to be the future of fabric. 

EnviroTextiles is woman-owned industrial hemp and natural fiber manufacturing company with their headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO, and is the largest manufacturer/importer of hemp and natural fiber textiles and products in the United States. EnviroTextiles proudly sells their products in the U.S. and to over 70 countries worldwide.  The company presently has their presence in the US, China, and Mexico, and focuses on natural fiber resources and economic development in regions with commodity levels of various natural fibers.

References:

  1. Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86187/
  2. San Francisco Chronicle, “HEALTH / High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials / New study reports lethal drug-resistant bacteria widespread” – http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/HEALTH-High-staph-infection-rates-in-hospitals-2554708.php

PLEASE CONTINUE READING!!!

UofL’s ‘energy crops’ harvested for research

ky hemp

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov, 1, 2017) – Someday, a 3-D printed medical implant made from hemp oil may save your life, or a hemp-based biofuel may power your vehicle.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg of possible outcomes of work being done at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, where on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 students and staff harvested “energy crops” planted near the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

2017 marked the second year that hemp and kenaf, an African fiber plant, were planted near Phoenix House, the Conn Center’s solar-powered administrative office building. The plants were an unusual site along the Eastern Parkway overpass, where they were sown in May and were the background of many a selfie.

The plants, both highly suitable to Kentucky’s growing conditions, are part of the Conn Center’s research into biofuels and biomass conversions. The UofL crop was one of eight at Kentucky colleges and universities grown as part of the state’s pilot program into field-scale industrial hemp, but the only one that will be used for energy research.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species of marijuana. However it doesn’t contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes the marijuana high. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, and are illegal to produce in the United States.

In Kentucky, only those who are part of a Department of Agriculture research program into field-scale industrial hemp production may grow hemp. More than 3,200 acres of industrial hemp was grown in Kentucky in 2017, the department said.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The UofL crop expanded this year to a total area of just over one tenth of an acre, said Andrew Marsh, assistant director of the Conn Center.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Marsh planted the seeds in three plantings beginning in May. He had help from groundskeepers from Physical Plant and researchers from the University of Kentucky’s industrial hemp program.

After cutting down the plants, Marsh and students bundled and transported them to the Conn Center’s Science & Innovation Garage for Manufacturing Advancement, where they will dry.

“Once dried, the Conn Center’s Biofuels & Biomass Conversion group, led by Jagannadh Satyavolu, and faculty from chemical engineering, such as Noppadon Sathitsuksanoh, will work with the biomass,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the center plans to expand the crop in 2018 and hopes to improve soil quality to ensure the plants do well in their urban environment.

Nick Marsh

Nick Marsh

“In 2016 and 2017, the tendencies of different seed types to prosper in our climate and soil conditions over those that do not have become apparent,” Marsh said. “So far, we have been growing in unconditioned ‘urban clay,’ not farm soils. This year gave a better look at the nutrient deficiencies, so 2018 will include soil-conditioning strategies. There are hemp varieties that we grew that just didn’t do very well with our mix of soil, available nutrient and water, but others did great. We’ll be diversifying our seed types next year too, looking for greater yield with minimal soil modifications. This was our first full season of growing, and the results are pretty good for both kenaf and hemp.”

The state’s hemp research program is looking into whether hemp can once again become an economic driver in the state, where it was once grown primarily for making rope.

Satyavolu, the center’s leader for biofuels and biomass conversion, along with assistant chemical engineering professor Sathitsuksanoh and students, are studying whether hurd, the innor core of the hemp plant stem, has potential for use in fuels, chemicals and polymers. Hurd is a byproduct after the outer fibers of the hemp are removed.

The Conn Center research is specifically focused on:

  • Converting hemp into high value, functionalized carbons that can be used as catalyst supports and energy storage media
  • Transforming hemp seed oil into biocompatible resins for 3-D printed medical implants
  • Extracting sugars from hemp to convert into diesel additives and other chemicals

In collaboration with the state, UofL established the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009. The center leads research that increases homegrown energy sources to meet the national need while reducing energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil. The center promotes partnerships among Kentucky’s colleges and universities, private industries and non-profit organizations to actively pursue federally and privately funded R&D resources dedicated to renewable energy solutions.

Researchers at the Conn Center are studying advanced energy materials manufacturing; solar energy conversion; renewable energy storage; biofuels/biomass conversions; and energy efficiency and conservation.

Mahendra Sunkara is director of the center, named in honor of Henry “Hank” and Rebecca Conn, who pledged $20 million for its formation. Hank Conn is a UofL alumnus who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Speed School and also an MBA from the College of Business.

CONTINUE READING…

Hemp Program Now Taking Applications for 2018

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2018 growing season.

“I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 3,200 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research program,” said Commissioner Quarles. “My vision is to expand and strengthen our research pilot program to put industrial hemp on a responsible path toward commercialization. Our increased production and processing is welcome news for the industry.”

Industrial hemp is one of several alternative crops, including hops and kenaf, that have made headway in Kentucky’s agricultural economy in recent years. In 2017, Kentucky’s farmers planted 3,200 acres of hemp, up from 2,350 acres in 2016, 922 acres in 2015, and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program. In addition to 194 grower participants, 48 hemp processors are conducting research as part of the KDA program.

Applications may be downloaded from the KDA website at kyagr.com/hemp. Grower applications must be postmarked or received by November 15, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. EST.  Processor/Handler applications are preferred by November 15, 2017, with a final deadline of June 1, 2018.

Public Input on Draft Administrative Regulations

The KDA is also opening a public comment period for preliminary draft regulations governing the industrial hemp research pilot program. Earlier this year, the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 218, tasking the KDA with promulgating administrative regulations for the program. Once the process is complete, program rules will be found in administrative regulations, as the law prescribes.

Department officials ask that interested members of the public submit their comments in writing by October 31 so that the agency can consider those comments prior to filing the regulations with the Legislative Research Commission later this year. The draft administrative regulations will be used as the policy to guide the program in 2018.

The draft regulations are available at kyagr.com/hemp. Written comments may be submitted by mail to KDA Hemp Program, 111 Corporate Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601 or by email to hemp@ky.gov with “Hemp Reg Comments” in the subject line.

KDA operates its industrial hemp research pilot program under the authority of state law (KRS 260.850-260.869) and a provision of the 2014 federal Farm Bill (7 U.S.C. § 5940) that authorizes state-managed hemp pilot programs.

Brent Burchett, Director

Division of Value-Added Plant Production

Office of Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

111 Corporate Drive Frankfort, KY 40601

brent.burchett@ky.gov | Office: 502-782-4120