Kentucky Leads Industrial Hemp Race, Lexington Sept. 30, 2015 – Kentucky is leading the race to re-establish industrial hemp as a commercial crop, with 1,700 acres of hemp planted this year by 121 growers working with seven universities and 24 processing companies.

The state’s lead position and official state support for hemp prompted the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to hold its annual conference in Kentucky for the first time. (Click here for the conference program.)

Speaking at the HIA conference, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer predicted that Kentucky will become “the epicenter of industrial hemp production in America.”

Comer retires as Ag Commissioner in December, but he could end up in an even better position to promote industrial hemp. That’s because Congressman Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky, has announced he’s retiring and Comer has announced he’s running for Whitefield’s seat in the 2016 elections.

After getting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to sponsor industrial hemp legislation and after launching both hemp planting and processing in his state, Comer said “We’re going to be making things that range from parts in the automotive industry to parts in the construction industry to pharmaceuticals.”

Comer told cheering hemp enthusiasts at the HIA conference that “we’re going to go from 1,700 acres to 10,000 acres to 20,000 acres to 40,000 acres. This is going to be a big crop in the state of Kentucky. We’re going to go from 24 processors to hopefully 100 processors.”

For more on the HIA conference, read Janet Patton’s Lexington Herald-Leader article on “Comer predicts that Kentucky will be ‘the epicenter of industrial hemp’ in the U.S.