Crossing the Divide

Hemp Farmers Face Rocky Road in Diversifying Eastern Kentucky’s Economy

Oct 6, 2017
David Williams, a University of Kentucky Agronomist and Director of the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand, Ky., on Monday, September 25, 2017.
Brittany Greeson / The GroundTruth Project

As the number of coal mining jobs continues to decline in central Appalachia, hemp is getting a lot of attention as one way to diversify eastern Kentucky’s post-coal economy. But the region’s burgeoning hemp industry is also riddled with uncertainty. The lack of land suitable for growing hemp, and its association with marijuana pose some significant challenges.