Farmers in south-central Kentucky are discussing a partnership with a state park that would lead to more farm-fresh foods being served at the location.
The Glasgow Daily Times reports farmers around Barren River Lake State Resort Park met recently with chef Rick Lenoir to discuss a partnership in which he would purchase more local goods to serve at the park's Driftwood Restaurant.
Lenoir, who started working at Barren River Lake State Resort Park last summer, said his preference is to use locally produced food.
"I want folks to be more aware of what we have around here," Lenoir said.
Legislation to allow hemp farming is moving on both the state and federal levels. The Kentucky Senate has given its approval, and now a bill in Washington seeks to lift a federal ban on the crop.
Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky have joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in co-sponsoring a bill that would allow farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp. Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule One controlled substance list, and would define it as a non-drug.
The state Senate has passed a bill aimed at creating a hemp industry in Kentucky, though the bill still appears to lack the support of key government leaders.
The Senate's 31-6 vote sends to the House a measure establishing oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmers if the crop is legalized at the federal level. The Senate vote comes on the heels of a poll stating that most Kentuckians believe legalized hemp would create jobs.
High-profile opponents remain unmoved.
And the hemp bill's fate in the state House isn't so clear.
The poll, conducted by RunSwitch Public Relations and Harper Polling, stated that 65 percent of Kentuckians believe that hemp would create jobs—and that only 16 percent believed that law enforcement concerns about hemp should take priority.
The Kentucky Senate just passed a much-talked about industrial hemp bill 31-6. The measure would create an infrastructure in the state for growing and marketing hemp and hemp-made products should federal laws regarding the crop change.
The bill faces an uncertain future in the Kentucky House.
(From right) U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-KY, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer, and Congressman Thomas Massie, R-KY, testify in favor of an industrial hemp bill up for consideration in the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee.
After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.
Agriculture Commission James Comer—the leading proponent of industrial hemp in Kentucky—recruited U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth to speak in favor of the bill at the committee, as well as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. But the bill has opposition from many law enforcement agencies, including the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE, a federally-funded program.
The crop could create jobs in Kentucky in agriculture and other industries through hemp's use as a strong material, said Comer, a Republican. The legislative approved in committee Monday, Senate Bill 50, is Comer's chief legislative priority.