Kentucky hemp production up in 2nd year of crop's comeback

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky's second hemp crop in decades is expected to surpass 1,700 acres, up from about three dozen acres a year ago, as the versatile crop's comeback starts to attract interest from processors looking to turn it into products, state agriculture officials said Tuesday.

Hemp advocates led by state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer touted the crop at an event in an old tobacco warehouse that could symbolize the past and future of Kentucky agriculture. Tobacco production has plunged in the past decade, and farmers have looked for alternative crops to maintain income. Hemp, which once flourished in Kentucky, is seen by some as one potential option on the farm.

Comer predicted that within a decade, hemp will take its place as a major Kentucky crop.

"We've proven this is a viable industry in this state," he said. "We've proven that our farmers want to grow it. We've...

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