The Kansas Department of Agriculture has reported a rise of 30% in applications for hemp farming compared to last year. The number of applications this year has reached 276.
The interest has increased across all sectors of hemp farming, with applications for hemp seed distribution rising from 3 to 23. Applications for hemp processing have remained stagnant at 35.
Commenting on the spurt in applications for hemp farming, the agriculture department’s manager of plant protection and weed control program, Jeff Vogel said that 2020 would be a year of transition for the hemp farming industry in the state.
Vogel also admitted that the state was still working on the contours of a program for commercial production of hemp.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture has created a regulatory framework in consultation with the US Department of Agriculture for reintroducing industrial level hemp production in the state. The USDA is yet to approve the regulatory framework plan submitted by Kansas.
Over 90% of hemp grown in Kansas is used for the production of CBD oils. In 2019, hemp farming licenses were issued in 68 counties, with the largest number issued in Haskell County at 13. Other counties, where a significant number of hemp farming licenses were issued include Reno, Johnson, Miami, and Sedgwick. The licenses for hemp distribution were issued in 11 counties and those for hemp processing in 22 counties.
In all in 2019, out of total availability of 5700 acres of land, hemp plantation was done in 2700 acres and harvesting was done in 1700 acres. Heavy rainfall had badly affected the hemp crop in 2019.
In 2019, nine out of 159 fields where hemp was grown were found to have elevated levels of THC and hence, crops in these nine fields had to be destroyed.
Vogel said that this year the department would test all crops two weeks before harvest to ensure that farmers were not using controlled substances. He also said that in the future, only hemp farmers would need to take a license to operate in Kansas.