Agriculture

Agriculture
2:39 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Joins Hemp Supporters

The push to legalize industrial hemp in Kentucky has picked up another major supporter.

The state’s largest business group, the Kentucky Chamber, announced Friday that it supports hemp as a crop for oil and fiber.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer touted the support on Twitter quickly after securing it. Comer has long said hemp could help struggling farmers in Kentucky turn profits.

Many of the state’s federal lawmakers support the issue as well, including Congressmen Andy Barr, John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie and Senator Rand Paul.

Kentucky Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jerry Wagner says his group hasn't decided on supporting or opposing legalizing industrial hemp.

A bill to legalize hemp was filed in the Kentucky Senate Friday by the  agriculture committee chair.

Comer does not support legalizing hemp's cousin crop, marijuana.

Agriculture
2:25 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Southern Kentucky Cattle Brokers Plead Guilty to Federal Charge

Two men associated with a cattle brokerage company have pleaded guilty to a federal charge in connection with a scheme that cost 172 farmers more than $840,000.

The Glasgow Daily Times reports that Thomas P. Gibson and Michael Steven McDonald each entered a plea in U.S. District Court in Kentucky to one count of mail fraud.

They previously pleaded guilty in Metcalfe Circuit Court to charges related to the scheme and agreed to fully repay farmers who sold cattle to Eastern Livestock.

The plea on the federal charge was entered last month. Brian Butler, Gibson's attorney, told the newspaper that his client never meant to hurt anyone, but has taken responsibility for what happened.

Agriculture
1:47 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Comer: Industrial Hemp Bill to be Introduced in Frankfort Soon

The U.S. stands out as an industrialized nation that has banned hemp.

Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is continuing a push to legalize industrial hemp. James Comer says a hemp bill will be introduced next week by Shelby County Republican Senator Paul Hornback.

Comer has spent the past several months trying to convince law enforcement groups that industrial hemp won’t lead to an increase in marijuana growth, but he says the decision ultimately rests with the General Assembly.

“Whether they support it or not, the legislators are the lawmakers. They’re the ones that make the laws and the state police will abide by the law,” said Comer, who is a Monroe County farmer. “So I wish everybody was on board, but at the end of the day my job as Ag Commissioner is to help farmers and to create jobs in rural communities. And this bill will do that and hopefully we can get it passed.”

Comer says the bill will detail how the state agriculture department would regulate the growing of hemp. An economic impact study conducted by the University of Kentucky on the crop’s market potential is expected to be released in early February.

If the measure passes the state legislature, Comer says he will then focus on trying to get hemp reclassified at the federal level. Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green has appeared several times with Comer in recent months to support the legalization of industrial hemp. Sen. Paul says he'll champion federal efforts to reclassify hemp.

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Agriculture
2:00 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Gov. Steve Beshear: Law Enforcement Issues with Hemp Must Be Worked Out

Before he joins the call for legalized industrial hemp, Gov. Steve Beshear wants law enforcement officials to resolve their concerns about the issue.

The issue: Some Kentucky officials believe legalized industrial hemp would be good for Kentucky's economy, but law enforcement officials are concerned that such a move would conflict with efforts to crack down on marijuana growers.

“I think we’re going to have to answer those questions before we can really move forward in the industrial hemp area,” Beshear said.

Kentucky is central in the movement to legalize hemp as an agricultural crop, largely thanks to the advocacy of Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

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Agriculture
4:00 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Kentucky Hemp Industry Won't Grow Overnight, Agriculture Economists Say

As Kentucky and federal lawmakers consider legalizing industrial hemp, the chair of the University of Kentucky's agriculture economics department notes that such an industry won't rise overnight.

It's a matter of economic viability. The main question being: With corn, soybeans and other crops selling at record high levels, what would entice farmers to switch to hemp instead?

Leigh Maynard, chair of the University of Kentucky’s ag economics department, said he expects farmers to be hesitant to begin growing industrial hemp. Maynard said  farmers will likely balk at the idea of foregoing record high prices in other markets just to grow hemp.

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Agriculture
3:59 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Kentucky Hemp Commission Will Work on Proposal, Economic Impact Study

The second meeting of the state’s Industrial Hemp Commission will include picking out some details of panel’s efforts. The commission, chaired by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, will dive Friday morning into specifics of a new legislative proposal.

They include the bill’s language and which legislators will sponsor it during the 2013 session.

Comer says a state university will be selected to conduct a new economic study of legalizing industrial hemp in Kentucky.

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Agriculture
3:11 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Despite Drought, Kentucky Agriculture Revenues Could Set Records

These corn crops in Warren County were damaged during the summer drought.
Credit Kevin Willis

Despite experiencing one of the worse droughts in U.S. history, agriculture economists in Kentucky are projecting record cash receipts for the state’s farmers.

During their annual outlook during the Kentucky Farm Bureau conference, economists from the University of Kentucky say they think Kentucky will break the $5-billion barrier in revenues this year.

Lead economist Will Snell says high prices for many crops -- along will increased exports and insurance payouts  -- helped offset the drought for many agricultural industries in Kentucky.

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Agriculture
8:29 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Kentucky Law Enforcement Chief Uncommitted About Legalizing Hemp

Kentucky is one of several states considering the legalization of industrial hemp.

Kentucky Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jerry Wagner says his group hasn't decided on supporting or opposing legalizing industrial hemp. Wagner and other members of the KSA board met with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer Thursday in Frankfort for more information on the subject.

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Agriculture
3:23 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Yarmuth Joins Supporters of Legalization of Industrial Hemp

Republican advocates of industrial hemp in Kentucky are getting some across the aisle help. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat, supports efforts to legalize the plant in Kentucky, his spokesman said. U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer are the two leading advocates for the move.

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Agriculture
10:11 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Massie Signs On as Co-Sponsor of Hemp Legislation

A fresh move is underway in Frankfort and Washington D.C. to legalize industrial hemp.

U.S. Rep.-elect Thomas Massie is co-sponsoring legislation that would require the federal government to honor state laws allowing production of industrial hemp. The proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. A similar bill is being co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul.

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