Hemp Farming

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, 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 growing hemp industry is riddled with uncertainty.

The lack of land suitable for growing hemp and its association with marijuana pose significant challenges. Rachel Cramer, from our partners at WGBH and The GroundTruth Project, has that story.

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.

Hemp seeds
Kristen Wyatt / Associated Press

Hemp seeds are being distributed to approved growers in West Virginia for a research project on the crop.

State officials say it took two years to create rules governing the project. Applicants must pass background checks before being licensed to participate.