Hemp has turned into a legitimate test crop in Kentucky after a legal battle over imported seeds. Researchers are planting seeds to start gauging the potential for the non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana.
University of Kentucky agronomy researchers planted a small plot Tuesday at their Spindletop Farm near the Lexington campus. Dr. David Williams says 13 varieties of hemp were planted and with good weather and enough rainfall, the crop should be harvested in October. Factors Williams and others will look for after treating all types of hemp in the trial the same will include whether one yields more quantity than another and how qualities like the plants' fibers or seeds compare.
The seeds were part of a shipment released after a legal standoff between Kentucky's Agriculture Department and the federal government.
Another test hemp plot affiliated with Murray State University has also been planted.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says the research will eventually lead to new jobs and farm income. The state's already heard from hemp processors and end users that say being able to get hemp for products from a domestic source like Kentucky would dramatically cut their shipping and other costs.