Growing Hemp in Kentucky

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is in charge of the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. This is part of the Farm Bill that was enacted in 2014. No one is allowed to grow, sell or process industrial hemp in the state without a license issued by this organization.

In the few years that this program has been active, it has achieved a high level of growth. During the initial year, there were more than 30 acres planted and farmers were able to harvest a modest crop. By 2015, 900 additional acres were planted and more than half of them were harvested. The following year, 2,300 acres were planted and around 2,000 were viable. In the following two year, there was a large increase in the amount of hemp planted and the amount that was harvested successfully.

The best time to grow hemp in the state of Kentucky is between mid-May and the beginning of June. Hemp is an annual plant that thrives when the weather is warm. It also grows best when it is exposed to at least 12 hours of sunlight. The soil used should have an alkaline level that lies between 6.2 and 6.5. Studies are still being conducted to determine which growing conditions are likely to yield the highest ratio of seeds to harvested plants.

Program Name Program Type Resources
Kentucky Research &


Kentucky Department of Agriculture

University of Kentucky Hemp Research

Economic Considerations for Growing Industrial Hemp

Kentucky Hemp Industries Association