Kansas Prepares For First “Commercial” Industrial Hemp Season

Industrial hemp in Kansas
Image: Kansas Department of Agriculture

The Kansas Department of Agriculture will begin accepting industrial hemp grower applications from January 8.

Up to this point, the only pathway for growing industrial hemp in the state was through a license issued under the state’s Industrial Hemp Research Program.

Governor of Kansas Laura Kelly signed the Senate Substitute for House Bill 2167, which established the state’s Commercial Industrial Hemp Program, back in April 2019. But first a plan needed to be developed and approved at a Federal level in order to comply with the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill. Meanwhile, 2019 was the first year that hemp could be grown in the state under the 2014 Farm Bill enabled pilot. 213 growers’ licenses were issued for around 5,700 acres.

In April last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a plan submitted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture in January 2019 to regulate a Commercial Industrial Hemp Program in the state, but it’s taken some months to finalize of formalising adopting the program.

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Growers for the 2021 season will need to pony up a $100 application fee, $1,200 license fee and $200 registration fee. Additionally, there is a criminal background check costing $47. Crops will also need to be tested, which will cost $225 each time. Growers must generally cultivate industrial hemp grown from authorized seed or clone plants, and special permission must be obtained before the use of an unapproved variety.

More information on the Kansas Commercial Industrial Hemp Program can be found here.

Prior to prohibition, Kansas had a long association with hemp and was a major producer; reportedly ranking first in the U.S. for bushels per acre way back in 1863.

It has been among the last U.S. states to reinstate the crop – but better late than never. While hemp farmers across the USA are experiencing their ups and downs with the crop and associated markets, a strong sector should emerge from what is really still a nascent phase.

There are so many uses for hemp – and on a related note we reported back in September Kansas researchers have been helping to fill in gaps in knowledge regarding the use of industrial hemp as cattle feed.

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