With strong backing by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), legalization of industrial hemp farming is receiving strong support in Kentucky. Hemp is a lucrative replacement non-food crop for Kentucky’s tobacco farmers, who have suffered a sharp decline in demand for their product.
Media reports of the increasing importance of hemp as an alternative crop for tobacco are common. A recent article in Forbes.com titled, “In Kentucky, Farmers Find Hemp May Be More Profitable Than Tobacco,” looks at the future of the state as a hemp producer.
“We are looking beyond the obvious cannabis markets in the West,” stated Gerry Martin, ONIT Science’s chief executive officer. “Hemp is the primary source for cannibidiol (CBD), but it’s also valued for its fiber and seed. Traditional tobacco producing states, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, are expected to come on strong in the production of hemp destined for the pharmaceutical and health and wellness markets. We will be in the perfect position to help those farmers grow stronger, healthier, more productive crops with our all-natural, non-GMO plant stimulant, ONIT Grow™.”
Another story, “Help Profit Gets Real,” published on Farm Journal’s website AgWeb.com, takes a very close look at one Kentucky farmer’s efforts to switch from tobacco production to hemp. In the piece, the author noted that the total domestic value of hemp retail products sold in 2015 was $573 million. Yet, the U.S. annually imports $500 million in hemp and hemp-related products from China. Later in the piece, a representative from hemp processors GenCanna Global said, “We want a U.S. product to distribute globally and not vice versa. The current setup is not in the interest of our farmers or our country.”