kentucky hemp growers list

Kentucky hemp growers list

Hemp fibers have been used to manufacture hundreds of products that include fiber for injected/molded composite materials, twine, paper, construction materials, carpeting, clothing, and animal bedding. Seeds have been used in making industrial oils, cosmetics and other personal care products, and medicines. Hemp seed or oil can be found in cooking oil, salad dressings, pasta, and snack products. Hemp has also generated tremendous interest among pharmaceutical and medical researchers due to the cannabinoid cannabidiol or CBD.


Agriculture as a whole has changed considerably since hemp’s heyday, so past production information cannot be relied upon to determine how the crop should be grown and harvested today. The University of Kentucky began basic agronomic research in 2015 with varieties grown for each purpose – fiber, grain and cannabinoids. For details about UK research on industrial hemp, visit the UK Industrial Hemp Agronomic Research website at Bob Pearce, professor of agronomy, and Tom Keene, agronomy specialist, both with the UK Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, are participants in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Program.

Additional Information

Click here for information from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) about how the 2018 farm bill impacts Kentucky’s hemp industry. Please note that individuals or businesses must hold a license from the KDA to grow or process hemp. For details about the KDA’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, including applications and regulations, visit

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Kentucky hemp growers list Hemp fibers have been used to manufacture hundreds of products that include fiber for injected/molded composite materials, twine, paper, construction materials,

Hemp Growing into a Big Business in Kentucky

KENTUCKY ⁠— The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has licensed 960 hemp growers to grow up to 32,000 acres and 150 hemp processors and handlers for 2020. The KDA also licensed 4.6 million square feet of greenhouse space for production.

What You Need To Know

  • KDA licenses 960 hemp growers, 150 processors
  • Growers report $193.9 million gross product sales in 2019
  • Processors report paying $51.3 million for harvested hemp materials in 2019

In 2019, The KDA oversaw 978 licensed growers and 210 processors, and Kentucky growers reported growing 26,500 acres of hemp in 2019.

“Hemp continues to draw much attention, and these new numbers reflect an industry that is still maturing,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles. “The nation’s hemp industry is reacting to a market which is evolving in the face of supply chain issues and the uncertain future of cannabidiol products after the Food and Drug Administration’s years-long struggle to provide a regulatory framework for nutraceutical or food products. We will continue to work with our Cabinet for Economic Development to draw new investment for every sector of the hemp economy, including fiber and grain, into our state.”

One hundred and fifty-seven of the 960 licensed growers have not requested growing sites but intend to store hemp from 2019’s harvest for marketing in 2020. KDA is waiting on an additional 60 processor applications to be completed.

The online application portal is open year-round for processors and handlers with the KDA reviewing applications on a rolling basis.

Growers had until March 15 to apply for the 2020 season, a change from previous seasons where the deadline was November.

The KDA also released data from 2019, including processors and handlers generating $193.9 million in gross product sales. This marks a significant increase from 2018’s $57.5 million in gross product sales. Processors also reported spending $207.3 million on capital investment in 2019 compared to $23.4 million in 2018.

Processors, who employed 1,304 people in 2019, also reported paying $51.3 million for harvested hemp materials in 2019, significantly up from $17.75 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2017.

“While these numbers show growth, they likely do not account for the national volatility in the hemp market over the last few months,” Commissioner Quarles said. “It is important for growers and processors to remember what we have been saying for years: proceed with caution, as you would in any new business. We urge everyone to move forward in a cautious manner, especially in the face of the uncertainty from FDA.”

The KDA also licensed 150 hemp processors.