Tonight — The RP Debates Industrial Hemp

KET’s Kentucky Tonight program with host Bill Goodman will discuss industrial hemp this evening at 8:00 PM ET.

Scheduled guests are:

– Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer

– Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer

– Former Kentucky State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, founder of The Recovering Politician

– Dan Smoot, vice president of Operation UNITE

The program is live on KET and at at 8:00 pm ET.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to or use the message form at All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

You can come back to this site at 8:00 PM and join a LIVE Twitter debate — all of your tweets that use #KYTonight will be published LIVE at The Recovering Politician.

Kentucky Tonight programs are archived online, made available via podcast, and rebroadcast on KET, KET KY, and radio. Archived programs, information about podcasts, and broadcast schedules are available at

For your reading prior to or after the show, click here for a 1998 report produced by the University of Kentucky on the “Economic Impact of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky.” As you read the report, keep in mind that farmers and scientists have developed dozens of new applications for the crop since the report was prepared 15 years ago. The key findings in the report include:

  • A market for industrial hemp exists in a number of specialty or niche markets in the United States, including specialty papers, animal bedding and foods and oils made from hemp.
  • Additional markets could emerge for industrial hemp in the areas of automobile parts, replacements for fiberglass, upholstery, and carpets. Using current yields, prices, and production technology from other areas that have grown hemp, Kentucky farmers could earn a profit of approximately $320 per acre of hemp planted for straw production only or straw and grain production, $220 for grain production only, and $600 for raising certified seed for planting by other industrial hemp growers. In the long run, it is estimated that Kentucky farmers could earn roughly $120 per acre when growing industrial hemp for straw alone or straw and grain, and $340 an acre from growing certified hemp seed.
  • Industrial hemp, when grown in rotation, may reduce weeds and raise yields for crops grown in following years. Several agronomic studies have found that industrial hemp was more effective than other crops at reducing selected weeds. One study found that industrial hemp raised yields by improving soil ventilation and water balance.
  • The economic impact if Kentucky again becomes the main source for certified industrial hemp seed in the United States is estimated at 69 full-time equivalent jobs and $1,300,000 in worker earnings. The total economic impact in Kentucky, assuming one industrial hemp processing facility locating in Kentucky and selling certified seed to other growers, would be 303 full-time equivalent jobs and $6,700,000 in worker earnings. If two processing facilities were established in Kentucky, industrial hemp would have an economic impact of 537 fulltime equivalent jobs and $12,100,000 in worker earnings. If one processing facility and one industrial hemp paper-pulp plant were established in Kentucky, industrial hemp would have an economic impact of 771 full-time equivalent jobs and $17,600,000 in worker earnings.
  • If just a fraction of the agricultural counties in Kentucky went into the industrial hemp business, thousands of jobs and sizable earnings would be created. If just one-fourth of Kentucky’s 90 agricultural counties went into industrial hemp business, approximately 17,348 jobs would be created and $396 million in worker earnings generated yearly.
  • These economic impact estimates reflect possible outcomes for Kentucky given a national industrial hemp industry that is focused in specialty niche activities that have been demonstrated to work in Europe. It is important to remember, however, that technologies are under development that may allow industrial hemp products to compete in bulk commodity markets. The economic impacts that would occur if these technologies were found to be commercially feasible would be substantially greater than those identified in this report.



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