Are Feds Trying To Run Down Clock On Kentucky Hemp Seeds?

KENTUCKY:  With just about two weeks until the end of planting season, Kentucky’s Agriculture Department agreed Friday to jump through a federal agency’s hoops so it can get hemp seeds that already are in the state.

State officials say they will file a four-page application for a one-page federal permit to obtain industrial hemp seeds that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officials have detained at a UPS facility at Louisville International Airport at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration. With the permit, the seeds would be released and Kentucky universities planning to conduct pilot projects under the new farm bill would be able proceed on their own land.

But a more complicated issue of whether farmers not affiliated with the universities will be allowed to grow hemp — whose fibers can be used in rope, clothing, foods and lotions — remained unresolved after a conference among the Kentucky officials and lawyers for the federal agencies that the state Agriculture Department is suing.

Federal District Judge John G. Heyburn II set another conference for Wednesday. State officials hope the seeds can be released by then and expect to have a proposal ready to solve the issue of third-party growers.