Forum held to educate farmers about the positives of industrial hemp

Kentucky Hemp
A close-up view of a hemp plant cut down on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, at a University of Kentucky farm near Lexington. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – More Kansas farmers are pushing to be allowed to grow industrial hemp as a crop in the future.

Legislation allowing them to do so passed the House in March, but has stalled in the Senate ever since.

On Thursday, a forum was held to educate farmers about the positives of industrial hemp in order to get a coalition to help push it forward.

More than 50 farmers sat in on the meeting.

“It brings something to the industry that might be profitable during a down time,” said Aaron Cromer, a farmer who attended the forum.

Republican Rep. Willie Dove championed a bill that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. He said if the bill were to pass in Kansas there would be a lengthy process where the seeds would first go to all the universities for testing.

“When that testing has completed to the department of agriculture standards, then they will order seeds that are actually paid for by the farmers,” said Dove.

Dove said law enforcement agencies do have concerns, but he has written into the legislation where the farmer and law enforcement would work together to track the THC level of the crops.

“You have a paper trail from when the seed goes in the ground until it goes to the processing plant, the processing plant also has to be certified by either the DEA or FDA,” said Dove.

Fifth generation farmer, Kim Sorenson, sees industrial hemp as something that could be a benefit to the state as a whole.

“There are enumerable products out there that can be made from this,” said Sorenson. “Why can’t we get our little piece of the pie?”

Dove said 33 out of 50 states currently allow for farmers to grow industrial hemp as a crop.

He continues to urge supports to call their local senators and have them vote on his bill when legislators head back to Topeka on Monday.


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