U.S. Hemp Roundtable firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Hemp Roundtable email@example.com
Both historically, and more recently as prohibition has been lifted, Kentucky has played an outsized role in the development of the nation’s hemp industry. From 19th century hemp farmer/US House Speaker Henry Clay to today’s political leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Reps. James Comer and Thomas Massie, Kentuckians have served as national leaders in legalizing, cultivating and commercializing the crop.
Today, a significant step was taken by Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles: Quarles announced this morning that Kentucky would NOT be submitting a hemp plan for USDA approval under the agency’s Interim Final Rule (IFR), but rather would continue to operate its program under the 2014 Farm Bill authorization. Just as with the concerns we shared here (and in our private meetings with USDA leadership), Quarles recognized that many outstanding issues remain regarding the IFR, and that these issues that are not likely to be resolved before planting season begins. Instead, the Department will share its recommendations with the USDA as it develops a final rule, hopefully in time for the 2021 growing season.
We imagine that other states will follow Kentucky’s lead and operate under the 2014 Farm Bill authorization as the USDA listens to stakeholders and the public as it designs its Final Rule. This would make a strong statement that the IFR needs a substantial overhaul, and given the laudable public outreach conducted by the USDA, we are confident that the agency will listen and respond.
Hemp Supporters, that’s your cue…
If you haven’t yet submitted comments to the USDA about its Interim Final Rule, the deadline is next week, January 29. You can submit your comments here. And please feel free to echo any of the comments the Roundtable made, which are available here
SOURCE: U.S. Hemp Roundtable <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2019
Hemp, broadband concerns brought before state panel
FRANKFORT—Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney said his organization’s advice for Kentucky’s growing number of hemp producers is “be careful.”
Haney told the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture today that farmers are encouraged to enter the growing hemp industry, but with minimal risk. Kentucky is still in its first five years of modern hemp production which began in 2014 under the state’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.
The research pilot program is ending this year, with the state’s Hemp Licensing Program entering a new stage of commercial production in 2020.
“We tell all the producers, and have been saying all along, be careful. Go slow. Don’t risk any more than you can afford to put at risk,” said Haney. The caution comes as many farmers, he said, look to hemp as a replacement for once-reliable sources of income—like tobacco—amid today’s agriculture market disruptions and downturns.
Making hemp as profitable as tobacco once was to Kentucky farmers, if possible, will take time, said Haney.
“It would be wonderful if we could do that,” he said. “So we’re telling folks, ‘help us build the industry and don’t just try to swing for a home run.’”
Haney said the Farm Bureau has formed a hemp advisory committee to work on issues that could help farmers build the industry moving forward. That work, he said, could come in handy in any future legislative discussions concerning the farmer’s role in the hemp industry. Haney said he hopes hemp processors will take a similar approach regarding their role in the industry.
“Most of the questions about hemp that I’ve heard were not about production of hemp. It was about the processing of hemp and how we transport it, how we get paid for it, (about) the systems from the farm gate through the rest of the pipeline,” said Haney.
Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles, asked Haney if the Farm Bureau’s hemp advisory committee could look into whether Kentucky farmers are being fairly compensated for their crop. He also encouraged a standard means to test hemp products, saying he would like the organization to look into “standardization in testing” of hemp products on store shelves to make sure “what is on the shelf at a gas station or a pharmacy is actually going to contain the same stuff.”
Concerns about cash flow to hemp producers also voiced by Graviss were shared earlier in the meeting with Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy Executive Director Warren Beeler, who said farmers have had high hopes for hemp amid uncertainty in other agricultural markets. Now farmers are finding that hemp production brings its own uncertainty, he told lawmakers.
“We don’t know exactly where we’re going to end up,” said Beeler. “But hemp has a chance to help us. It has a chance to be maybe that tobacco that we thought we’d never have a replacement for.”
One of the most critical issues facing many Kentucky farmers, said Haney, is the need for high-speed broadband. While most Kentuckians have internet access, Haney said rural areas remain that don’t have the connection speed necessary to use high-tech apps and programs now commonplace in modern agriculture.
“If you can’t operate the device that you’re working with because the speed is so low that you can’t even download the programming … it’s pretty sad. And it’s important to our members more now than it has ever been before,” said Haney, adding that his organization will likely approach the Kentucky General Assembly for help on the matter in the future.
Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris, an attorney and cattle farmer, said internet connectivity is important to him and his constituents, including a number of rural Kentuckians with limited internet access. West said that while full implementation the KentuckyWired project—which is intended to provide gigabit-speed access statewide—is expected within the next year or so, he wonders what support there is from the private sector for improved internet speed.
“They have to address these issues to get more service out to our farmers and rural areas,” West said.
Haney said the Farm Bureau is communicating with the private sector and is “hoping to put together some stakeholders that will continue to work on this in the near future.”
Here’s a video explaining the entire thing, transcript with links below.
Let’s be clear about a couple of pertinent facts:
1. The FDA made up arbitrary rules, then accused Sam of breaking those rules.
2. There are no victims. Samuel Girod has hurt no one.
3. FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs kill 1 person every 19 minutes. Merck’s FDA-approved Vioxx killed over 68,000 people. Nobody in Big Pharma goes to jail. They pay out billions in fines (after making billions in profits.) No companies close, nobody goes to jail. Nobody. Even after killing and harming 100s of thousands of people.
4. Sam Girod and his products have hurt no one.
Samuel Girod and his family have been making and selling 3 all-natural herbal products for nearly 20 years. In all those years, one woman had a bad reaction to a salve (which Sam made right and the woman was fine).
No one has ever been harmed by the products, the Girods have pages of testimonials and scores of repeat customers.
The 3 products are: Original Chickweed, a beeswax, essential oils and olive oil salve; Sine-Eze, a blend of essential oils; and To-Mor-Gone, an herbal bloodroot product in a base of beeswax and olive oil aka “black salve”.
All of these products are currently ALSO made and sold online worldwide (including on Amazon) by other people using these same basic ingredients. The recipes are online as well, you can make them in your kitchen.
Sixteen years ago, in 2001, an FDA agent visited Sam at his home in IN and informed Sam that he could not claim his products could help skin cancer. At that time, the chickweed salve label said: “[g]ood for all skin disorders. Skin cancer, cuts, burns, draws, and poison ivy.”
According to the FDA, when you make a medical claim about a product, that means the product is a “drug. Therefore you have to do years of testing, costing millions of dollars to prove the claim.
Sam had to change his label or do the testing.
So Sam changed the label, removing the reference to skin cancer.
He asked the agent to get back to him on what label would be acceptable to the FDA. The agent said she would within three weeks but she never did.
The label now said, “[g]ood for skin disorders. Dry skin, cuts, burns, draws, and poison ivy.” No skin cancer reference.
Between 2001 and 2004, Sam was visited several times by FDA agents. When he asked the agents what was acceptable on the label, none would give
Sam did not receive any further communication from the FDA until 2012.
In Jan 2012, someone called the FDA and reported that a store in MO was selling Chickweed Healing Salve and that medical claims were being made.
The FDA confiscated the products from the store and opened #Case 4:12-cv-00362-GAF on Sam. You will find a link to the complaint and a link to Sam’s answer in the transcript below.
This is the complaint: http://bit.ly/27-on-120928-Girod-Amended-Complaint
This is Sam’s answer to the complaint: http://bit.ly/37-on-121228-Girod-Answer-Defenses
In fact, here are all the court documents on Sam’s entire case. There are two folders: the 1st is for the labeling, the 2nd is for the criminal indictment.
AppHarvest to locate high-tech greenhouse in Pikeville, creating 140 jobs on reclaimed mine site
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – Agricultural startup AppHarvest plans to build a $50 million high-tech greenhouse, creating 140 full-time jobs in Pikeville at a former surface coal mine repurposed for new industry, Gov. Matt Bevin announced Thursday.
“AppHarvest’s project will bring exciting, high-tech job opportunities to Eastern Kentucky,” Bevin said in a statement. “Our administration is dedicated to increasing economic opportunity across Kentucky, and this project presents a fantastic opportunity to help our Appalachian region continue its rejuvenation. We intend to make Kentucky the engineering and manufacturing center of excellence in America, and job growth in Eastern Kentucky will be a key part of our success.”
Targeted for a 60-acre site, AppHarvest’s 2 million square-foot greenhouse will rank among the world’s largest, a state news release said. There, the company plans to grow fresh vegetables year round for consumption in the U.S. Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. The operation will grow a variety of produce with a focus on cherry tomatoes and bell peppers. The high-tech facility will feature computerized monitoring and cutting-edge hydroponic, above-ground growing systems.
AppHarvest Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb cited Pikeville’s proximity to retail markets, quality of the regional workforce and opportunities created as the coal industry transitions as reasons for locating in Eastern Kentucky.
“The spirit of the region is unmatched and we want to work alongside those hardworking men and women,” Webb said. “Appalachia, let’s grow veggies, let’s do work!”
Building near its markets will significantly reduce shipping costs, Webb said, and also lower costs for consumers. As a gateway between the Midwest and South, Kentucky’s boarders lie within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the U.S. population and income. That continues to make the commonwealth a major draw for logistics-intensive companies.
Webb has supported U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives’ efforts with private financing and development of some of the largest solar projects in the Southeast. He recently founded AppHarvest to provide a local, more logistically feasible option in response to US produce imports from Mexico tripling over the past decade.
AppHarvest employees will be trained in agronomy and agricultural science. Positions include management, human resources, logistics and picker/crop worker. Webb said he expects greenhouse construction to begin in June.
The company’s greenhouse environment will provide dramatic yield increases versus traditional field and low-tech greenhouse operations and allow it to adjust to customers’ needs and demands, as well as provide a longer shelf life for produce.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said AppHarvest’s project stands to benefit the state on multiple fronts.
“Agriculture is economic development, and this facility would bring much-needed investment and jobs to Eastern Kentucky,” Quarles said. “This project would capitalize on increasing demand for U.S.-grown produce, technical innovation, the opportunity to recapture market share from beyond our borders, and an available workforce. This is an exciting opportunity that could change the economic trajectory of the entire region for decades to come.”
Sen. Ray Jones, of Pikeville, said Eastern Kentucky has a workforce ready for new opportunities and that AppHarvest will be a great fit.
“Eastern Kentucky is continually seeking ways to diversify and attract much-needed jobs to our region,” he said. “Many of our people lost their jobs because of the decline in the coal industry. Our region stands ready with a willing and skilled workforce to meet this company’s needs. We are pleased that AppHarvest is locating in our region and look forward to their success, along with the economic boost they will bring to Eastern Kentucky.”
Rep. John Blanton, of Salyersville, said the project will assist with efforts to diversify the local economy.
“I am thrilled to welcome AppHarvest to Pikeville,” Blanton said. “Eastern Kentucky is home to a dedicated and reliable workforce, and the creation of 140 jobs is a much-needed boost to our local economy. We continue to work diligently in diversifying our economy, and AppHarvest is a welcome addition to our business community. I thank them for their investment in Pike County and look forward to their continued success.”
Pikeville Mayor James Carter said the community has worked endlessly to make opportunities like this possible.
Appharvest on TWITTER:
By Andrew Baker – Sep 20, 2016
One of the things I love most about our industry is that it’s constantly being shaken up. Everywhere you look, there’s an individual or a company taking things to a previously unprecedented level. What’s even more amazing is the pace at which things are moving; a pace that’s only going to increase in speed as the industry becomes more open and recognized.
To help illustrate what I mean, think about this: If you have kids that are, say 5 years old or younger, there is a good chance that you won’t need to teach them how to drive. At least not the way you or I learned. It’s entirely possible that our kids will never have to grab a steering wheel or press a gas pedal.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait while you go ahead and put your brain back together.
But you see, these types of technological advancements aren’t being made in exclusivity. Strides like what I described above aren’t possible simply because the automobile industry is so advanced. The technology that would go into a self-driving car could be repurposed, tweaked just a little bit, and put to use in something like virtual reality. It can, and often does, work the other way around as well.
The cannabis industry is no exception, as we’re starting to see. I really enjoy tech — and I’m obsessed with entrepreneurship — so the flood of cannabis startups is an exciting thing to watch. Typing all this out makes me realize two things. One, I haven’t tackled this sort of topic in any of my previous posts. Two, I’m eager to do so for you guys.
But that’ll have to wait.
What? You thought all of that was to lead up to me covering some sort of futuristic weed tech? Nope. I just needed a good segue to what I’ll be talking about in today’s post. Who, actually, not what.
His name is Mike Lewis and he’s shaking things up in a simple but powerful way and he’s doing it with just his hands and his voice.
Mike Lewis! Who? Mike Lewis!
Aside from any readers I have out of Houston, who got the song reference?
In all seriousness though, Mike Lewis is a name you’ll come to know quite well if you don’t already. We’ll start with the basics. Mike is a proud husband, father, veteran of the United States Army and Kentucky farmer. In 2012, he established Growing Warriors, the first veteran-oriented food security organization.
There are about one million veterans and active duty military personnel receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly referred to as food stamps. It’s also no secret that the unemployment rate among veterans is unacceptably high. (To be fair, it is declining at a considerable rate.) Mike’s answer to this issue? Teach them how to grow and preserve their own food while banding together within their communities. This was accomplished by forming partnerships with cities, veteran hospitals, educational institutions, and community based organizations in order to provide veterans with hands on, curriculum-based learning opportunities. Since it’s inception, Growing Warriors has been able to help dozens of veteran families produce tens of thousands of pounds in organic produce.
Keep in mind that I’m just giving you a brief introduction. Mike’s, and the Growing Warriors’, efforts extend across multiple states and I could easily fill out the rest of this post by diving deep into everything they’re doing. For today, though, I want to bring your attention to what Mike and the Growing Warriors are doing for our industry, specifically the industrial hemp side of things.
Harvesting Liberty With Growing Warriors
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this short documentary film, Harvesting Liberty. Backed and presented by Patagonia, this film aims to address and shed light on the legalization of industrial hemp in the United States. Seriously, stop reading this, open that link in another tab, take the next 12 minutes of your day to watch it, then come back here to finish up and talk to me about what you think.
A couple of years ago, President Obama signed the Agriculture Act of 2014 — the Farm Bill — into effect. There’s a section of this act titled Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research. Basically, this section allows for universities and state departments of agriculture — in states where hemp is legal to grow — to grow hemp for research or pilot programs. Back in the 1800’s, Kentucky dominated the industrial hemp market. So, it’s quite fitting that a group of Kentucky farmers, Mike and the Growing Warriors, were given permission to cultivate 5 acres.
As soon as they got their seeds, Mike “threw ‘em the ground really quickly before anybody changed their mind.”
American Hemp Flag
I found two things to be really interesting while watching that documentary and doing further research afterward.
First, the way Mike and his team go about processing the harvested hemp into useable materials. Get this: it’s done entirely by hand. When you think about it, that actually makes sense. Industrial hemp hasn’t been cultivated in America since it was listed as a Schedule I controlled substance, so of course there’s no hemp processing machinery just laying around waiting to be used. Even if there was, Mike wanted to use traditional methods to weave what he had in store. More on that in a moment, though.
They begin by using a process known as retting. Put simply, retting is the natural process of allowing moisture and microorganisms to remove the sugars in the stalk that hold all the fibers together. Once the plant has been retted completely, it’s moved to the barn for drying. What follows is called breaking, or decorticating. The hemp stalk is run through a hand powered machine that crushes the stalk and separates each of the fibers. Once separated, the fibers are spun together using spinners that are, once again, hand powered.
The second thing that really caught my interest (and by that I mean it had me grinning from ear to ear) is what they decided to make with the materials that came from this first harvest.
An American Flag. (Not sorry if I’m spoiling anything because I told you to stop and watch the documentary!)
“We made this American ingenuity with people from all walks of life. Life and society are not uniform or standardized in any way. This flag represents the bumps and ridges in our society and the great things that happen when we accept differences and work to solve problems. It represents all of us and our future.”
Nationwide Legalization of Industrial Hemp
On the 4th of July, Mike delivered that flag to Congress along with a speech in support of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015/2016. This act proposes the nationwide legalization of industrial hemp cultivation, something I’ll be digging into in a later article.
Mike takes a stance that you don’t see often in this industry and its activists. While he’s obviously in full support of legalization and bringing industrial hemp farming back to America, he also recognizes the need to take it slow. There’s a lot of mistakes left to be made and we need to let those kinks get worked out before attempting to blow up the market. Not only that, but there’s a ton of misinformation out there when it comes to hemp. Most of the public still doesn’t understand that hemp isn’t the same as its THC-laden counterpart cannabis.
There’s a lot that can be said about Mike Lewis and all the work he’s putting out into the world. If I had to pick one thing, it would be that he’s solid proof that you don’t have to be a high tech startup out of San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, or Denver to effect real change on the cannabis industry. Those types of businesses have their place and I’m rooting for them. I just think it’s important that you don’t forget that there’s a place for you outside of an office space, if that’s where you’d rather be.
August 3, 2016
Tobacco continues to green up Kentucky’s economy
It used to be nearly impossible to drive through Kentucky in August and not see tobacco growing in a field.
In the summer of 1998, the leaf crop accounted for 25 percent of the state’s farm cash receipts and was grown by 46,000 farmers statewide. It was also grown by many of those farmers’ parents and their parents before them. For many, tobacco was Kentucky.
Today the number of Kentucky tobacco growers has fallen to 4,500, but tobacco is still very much alive across the state. The crop accounts for a fair amount of all agricultural cash receipts– about six percent–at a time when overall agricultural cash receipts are at record levels. And that success is largely due to tobacco, too, says Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy Executive Director Warren Beeler.
Beeler told the state legislative Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee today that Kentucky’s dedication of half of the funds received from a 1990s national master settlement with tobacco companies to agricultural diversification is the envy of many states. The appropriation was set out in 2000 House Bill 611 which helped propel the state to a record $6.5 billion in agricultural cash receipts in 2014.
“We are the envy of all states with our tobacco money,” said Beeler. “We’ve gone from $3.7 billion (in total agricultural cash receipts) when we got the (settlement) money to $6.5 billion now, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence….”
Lawmakers thanked Beeler, former GOAP Executive Director Roger Thomas and others for speaking at last month’s Southern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting in Lexington about HB 611’s successes. Committee Co-Chair Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, said many delegates to the meeting were impressed with Kentucky’s use of its tobacco settlement dollars to diversify its agricultural economy.
Beeler said he heard from individuals in state after state across the South who said “they wish they’d done what we’d done.” Kentucky’s efforts have almost doubled its receipts at the farm gate, he said.
“It’s no coincidence… Don’t tell me it is, because plain-and-simple fact is we know this money has worked,” he told the committee.
The biggest project in the history of the GOAP and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board which it administers is a $30 million grain crops and forages center planned for construction on the property of the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton. Half of the project amount, of $15 million, will be provided as a matching grant from the Agriculture Development Board, said Beeler. UK must match the award for the center.
Beeler said the project, which is also supported by the Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and others, will pay dividends for the next 50 years. Proposed work with ryegrass alone could have a big payoff, he said.
Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, gave special thanks to the Corn Growers Association which Hornback said purchased property for the center that will be leased to UK for repayment. “I appreciate what you all did,” he said to members of the association and all involved in the project.
“Everybody is very appreciative” for this project, Beeler assured lawmakers.
The center will feature new meeting facilities, laboratories, offices and improved internet access “so professors at the center can teach classes for students in Lexington,” according to a press release on the center from the University of Kentucky. “…All commodity areas based at Princeton including beef cattle, forages and pastures and horticulture will benefit from the improvements and expansion.”
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 3, 2016
For more information contact:
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced that farmers and other eligible applicants in Kentucky may seek funding from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for producing and marketing “specialty crops.”
Specialty crops are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops.
“Our soils and climate are conducive for Kentucky to be a major producer of specialty crops,” Commissioner Quarles said. “In today’s global economy, we’re looking for applicants that will make our specialty crops more competitive not only in this country but around the world.”
Eligible producers, commodity groups, agriculture organizations, colleges and universities, municipalities, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations may apply. The maximum award to any applicant is $50,000, but the KDA encourages applications for lesser amounts.
Applications should show how the proposed project would produce measurable benefits for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than just a single entity. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that solely provide a profit for a single organization, institution, or individual. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.
Applications must be postmarked no later than June 1. Projects cannot begin until the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made its official award announcement, expected in November. The program is funded by a Specialty Crop Block Grant of more than $200,000 from USDA. The KDA administers the program in Kentucky.
To download the application form, rules, eligibility requirements, and guidelines, go to www.kyagr.com/marketing/crop-block-grant.html. For more information, contact Joshua Lindau, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s plant marketing specialist, at (502) 782-4115 or email@example.com.
To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. We will stop the patents on seed.