Kentucky's agriculture commissioner said sales of the state's hemp products surged in 2018, as did the amount hemp farmers were paid.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said Monday that Kentucky hemp processors reported nearly $58 million in gross product sales last year, compared with nearly $17 million in 2017. The report is based on a state Agriculture Department review of hemp processor reports.
Quarles says processors paid Kentucky farmers nearly $18 million for harvested hemp materials in 2018, up from $7.5 million the year before.
Hemp processors spent $23.4 million in capital improvements and employed a total of 459 people in 2018.
Quarles says the report solidifies Kentucky's reputation as a leader in the comeback of hemp, which was removed from the list of federally controlled substances in last year's federal farm bill.
Lawmakers in Kentucky's neighbor, Indiana, are considering legislation that would make hemp production legal in the state.