Kansas industrial hemp plans moving forward with public meetings


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Brian Grimmett – Kansas News Service

Industrial hemp is coming to Kansas, but first the Department of Agriculture has to figure out how to regulate it.

Industrial hemp farm at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington, KY

To get started, the department is holding public meetings to get input from potential growers.

“Please don’t be frustrated if our answer is, ‘We don’t know yet,’ because that’s part of why we’ve asked you to come so we can figure out what we need to figure out,” Chad Bontrager, Kansas Agribusiness Service director, said before beginning his presentation at a recent meeting in Manhattan.

The meeting consisted of an overview of the recently passed law opening up the pilot project, as well as presentations from two people involved in the operation of industrial hemp programs in Kentucky and Colorado.

Dozens of people participated in the meeting, including Christina Hett. She’s a farmer in Marion County who’s interested in hemp as an alternative to the wheat, soy beans and corn she already grows.

“The farming markets are terrible, and it’s just to the point that we have to find something else,” she said.

But even after the meeting, she still had lots of questions and concerns, especially about how much a license to grow would cost.

“It’s almost like they’re not thinking about this from the producer’s perspective,” she said.

The state Department of Agriculture’s goal is to have draft regulations completed by July 1 and to begin issuing licenses to grow by the beginning of 2019.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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