FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State Fish and Wildlife officials say hunters in Kentucky claimed 20 black bears during the season that ended in December.
It was the first season with a new expanded bear hunting zone and an archery and crossbow season.
Hunters can now hunt bears in 16 Kentucky counties, up from four counties in 2012.
In the recent season, hunters harvested eight male and two female bears during the firearms season. They took six males and four females during the archery and crossbow season.
Seven were killed in Letcher County, and three bears each were taken in Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties.
Modern-day bear hunting in Kentucky began in 2009.
By Jessica Firger 10/11/15 at 10:05 AM
Above: Western Kentucky University senior Corinn Sprigler helps harvest hemp plants at the WKU Farm in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September 2014. Hemp potentially could be much more lucrative than tobacco if universities and farmers taking part in the Industrial Hemp Research Program, established by James Comer, Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture, continue to hone their skills cultivating the crop. Bac To Trong/Daily News/AP
The Shell Farms & Greenhouses is an expansive 1,000-acre property in Garrard County, 37 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. The five-generation family farm is operated by 31-year-old Giles Shell and his 60-year-old father, Gary. The two are whizzes at making ornamental flowers flourish, and like most farmers in the area, the family has grown tobacco for years.
In late June, the younger Shell stood outside one of six greenhouses on the farm and held up a yellowed tobacco plant with limp rootstock. The Shells know how to save sickly tobacco plants like this one, but they don’t want to anymore. “I’m hoping it’s our last crop,” Shell said.
Along the winding back roads of Central Kentucky’s bluegrass country, horses and cows graze on lush plains. For decades, tobacco helped farmers here keep their families clothed and fed. But that’s changing. Tobacco production facilities have slowly migrated to North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee due to consolidation within the industry, which has resulted in an ever-shrinking demand for the crop in Kentucky. There’s a replacement crop starting to come in, though: The Shell greenhouses that once nurtured thousands of tobacco plants are now home to 3,200 industrial hemp plants.
As demand for tobacco diminishes, the state’s farmers are turning to growing cannabis—but not the kind you smoke. slideshow
It’s been close to 70 years since anyone in Kentucky—or anywhere in the U.S.—attempted to legally cultivate industrial hemp in massive quantities. But today, the Shells and other skilled farmers are taking up the cash crop yet again, under the auspices of the five-year pilot Industrial Hemp Research Program, established by James Comer, Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture, which vets and licenses farmers in the state.
Shifting gears so dramatically hasn’t been easy. The biggest problem is the learning curve: Hemp isn’t tobacco, which means it’s unlike the crop farmers in the area are most familiar with. A major component of the pilot project has involved figuring out the optimal way to make the plant flourish in a much rainier environment than California or Colorado, where most cannabis is currently grown. Farmers have experimented with a number of techniques: covering the beds to prevent over-watering (as you would, for example, with tomatoes) and growing cuttings in flower pots (as they do with ornamental flowers).
And there’s another undeniable challenge: Industrial hemp is really just a few genetic tweaks away from marijuana and outsiders often don’t know one from the other. “When the stuff really starts to flower it has the same look and smell as marijuana. That’s why we have security” to contend with potential plant thieves, says Shell.
The difference between the two cannabis sativa plants is the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical compound in the plant that’s responsible for causing the high. In order for cannabis to be considered industrial hemp, it must contain THC levels less than 0.3 percent; any more and the plant has officially crossed over into weed territory.
Currently all cannabis sativa—whether grown to ease chronic pain, get stoned or make rope—is a schedule I controlled substance, a result of the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970, though state marijuana laws have changed some of the classifications at local levels. This is viewed as unfortunate by marijuana activists, but also by many in the agriculture industry, including Comer. He hopes to single-handedly turn industrial hemp into Kentucky’s No. 1 cash crop—and in the process, breathe new life into family farms that have lost millions of dollars with the fall of the tobacco industry.
Most industrial hemp is grown in China. With the right processing methods, the highly versatile plant can provide several notable revenue streams. Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in the plant, can be extracted from the leaves, blossoms and stems for medicinal and nutraceutical purposes. Cannabis oil derived from cold-pressing seeds is a healthful alternative to the oils sitting on most kitchen shelves, and it is already used in a number of cosmetic and beauty products. Other genetic variants of the plant are cultivated to produce fiber that can substitute for cotton, wood and plastic—a more sustainable way to make everyday products ranging from T-shirts to particleboard and even car dashboards.
And then there’s the potential for food. Hemp seed—high in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3s and protein—has a mild, nutty taste akin to flax. With the right marketing it could become the industry’s next superfood. It would also make for nutrient-packed animal feed.
Kentucky has a long, but mostly forgotten, history of hemp farming. The Speed family, intimately close friends of Abraham Lincoln, were hemp farmers in the state, as was Henry Clay, the 19th century statesman. Kentucky led the U.S. industrial hemp business until the end of the Civil War, when production of the crop declined and was generally replaced by tobacco. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 put the kibosh on all production and sales of cannabis, including industrial hemp, but the crop saw a rapid resurgence during World War II. Hemp fiber became essential to produce military necessities such as uniforms and parachutes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its national “Hemp for Victory” program, which provided seeds and draft deferments to farmers. In 1942, farmers planted 36,000 acres of hemp seed. A USDA-funded informational film from that year noted that “hemp grows so luxuriantly in Kentucky that harvesting is sometimes difficult.”
With backing from Senator Rand Paul, Comer’s proposed legislation—Senate Bill 50—passed in 2013. It created a regulatory framework for farmers to legally grow hemp in the state. In addition, Paul and Comer were able to get a provision added to the federal Farm Bill that legalized hemp production in states like Kentucky that had programs set up to grow the crop. The bill was signed by President Obama in 2014.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has backed the efforts of Comer to return hemp to its historical position as one of the Bluegrass State’s cash crops. Its history in Kentucky includes even Abraham Lincoln, whose in-laws grew hemp, as well as Henry Clay, the 19th century statesman. Kentucky led the U.S. industrial hemp business until the end of the Civil War, when production of the crop declined and was replaced by tobacco. Carlos Barria/Reuters
Though state and federal lawmakers support the efforts, Comer says it hasn’t been easy for Kentucky’s agriculture department or any of the farmers in the pilot program. Last year was the first for Kentucky’s pilot program, but it yielded only 33.4 acres of industrial hemp in the state. The farmers were capable of growing much more, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has made it challenging, says Comer. The DEA’s cannabis eradication program provides funding to local law enforcement to form a SWAT team of “cowboys flying around in helicopters.” They have been known to sweep through private farms to confiscate the plants, and have even been known to mistake okra for marijuana.
Despite all this, the project has nearly doubled its hemp production this year, and at least 500 people in the state are now employed at it as a result. Comer says he hopes farmers will soon be able to grow at least 10,000 acres. “We want to be the Silicon Valley for industrial hemp,” he says. The state’s backcountry has already become fertile ground for startups like GenCanna Global, which has partnered with six local farms to grow hemp for CBD.
Matty Mangone-Miranda, GenCanna’s president and chief executive officer, and Chris Stubbs, its chief scientific officer, conducted early work to cultivate low-THC, high-CBD cannabis plants formerly called “hippie’s disappointment”—since it doesn’t cause a high—and now known as Charlotte’s Web. It’s produced by the Realm of Caring Foundation as a dietary supplement under federal law and as medical cannabis for sale in states that allow for its use. The story of Charlotte’s Web first came to public light in 2013, when CNN aired Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary Weed, featuring Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old with a rare refractory epilepsy disorder known as Dravet syndrome that caused her to have up to 300 seizures per week. The Figis were preparing to sign “do not resuscitate” forms for their daughter when a friend connected them with the founders of the company, and the girl gained nearly complete seizure control once she started ingesting the CBD oil.
After the CNN documentary ran, Realm of Caring couldn’t keep up with the resulting high demand, says Mangone-Miranda. They still have thousands of families on their waiting list. “The lack of supply of oil was a huge problem,” he explains. “For me, the logical solution was that we needed a massive, sustainable and reliable supply.” To solve the problem, GenCanna has invested in Kentucky’s farms with the goal of planting 200,000 plants that are genetically similar to Charlotte’s Web in 2015.
Now, GenCanna has an increasing list of companies looking to purchase CBD oil to develop novel products that have absolutely nothing to do with treating rare seizure disorders or making healthy granola. The company has received proposals for CBD-infused sports drinks, wine, beer, Listerine-type fresh breath strips and transdermal patches.
Over the summer, GenCanna, along with Atalo Holdings—another hemp cooperative—purchased a 147-acre former tobacco seed development and breeding facility in Winchester, Kentucky. Along with storage, processing, formulating and shipping buildings, their new Hemp Research Campus includes an over-8,000-square-foot laboratory with breeding rooms. The two companies hope the Hemp Campus will serve as an incubator for the industry, says Steve Bevan, GenCanna’s chief operating officer. “With the Hemp Campus we think we can bring more and smarter people here,” he says. GenCanna and other companies hope to plant their flags before imminent changes in federal and state cannabis regulations allow Big Pharma to enter the picture. “They’re going to throw money in a big way, so we want to understand as much as possible because we have a belief that this stuff is food.”
There is currently a bill in U.S. Congress that would reclassify hemp from a narcotic to an agricultural crop. If the law were to pass, it would minimize the red tape for established hemp farming programs. For example, says Comer, “we won’t have to send staff to a field to do GPS coordinates and then get that information to the state police and all this bureaucracy.”
Despite the regulations and red tape, industrial hemp has already been a saving grace for some of the farmers in the pilot program. The Halverson family, for example, was preparing to shutter their operation, which primarily grew ornamental plants, until GenCanna approached them. The company offered to pay the rent for their property, cover all expenses upfront—including a refurbishing of the greenhouse—and provide salaries to the family and a staff of more than 20. One condition: They would turn all their energies to cultivating hemp and work with GenCanna to learn how to grow this complicated plant and find a way to breed the best version of the plant that is stronger and more aggressive.
Tobacco farmers only earn the equivalent of about 4 cents per pack of cigarettes. It’s still uncertain how much revenue hemp will bring into Kentucky’s agriculture business but the farming community is hopeful. Jessica Firger for Newsweek
In the beginning, the Halversons were skeptical. The family are Sabbath-keeping Christians, and it was hard to know what their neighbors would think. But by that time the family had run out of money and options other than to close the farm. So they went for it.
At first, they were the subject of the weekly gossip at church. “You get to finishing some choral music, and then the conversation after is ‘Are you guys really growing that stuff?’” says Mikkel Halverson. “We feel that growing hemp is more than just work—it is a way we can help those in need. It is part of a healing ministry.” Now, the Halversons’ 36,000-square-foot greenhouse overflows with thousands of hemp plants.
Halverson knows he could probably make a lot more money if he grew the type of cannabis that gets people high, but his family has decided they will not grow a version of hemp that could potentially be smoked, no matter how skilled they become at farming the crop. “I think God made all of the plants,” he says. ”But we’re going to stick with CBD hemp.”
Kirby Adams, @kirbylouisville 1:47 p.m. EDT September 29, 2015
Do you think you have what it takes to make it in the movies or become a movie star?
Rossetti Productions, which has produced 15 feature films, is gearing up to start production on their next movie right here in Kentucky.
“The Christmas Reunion” will be shot entirely in Cave City this winter and Rossetti Productions will be holding an open casting call in Cave City to possibly fill some of the remaining roles in the movie.
The open casting call will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 at the Cave City Convention Center, 502 Mammoth Cave St., Cave City, Ky.
Production on “The Christmas Reunion” is slated to begin in early December, with release of the movie planned for the 2016 Christmas season.
More information about the rolls being cast and audition information at www.facebook.com/thechristmasreunionmovie.
Find Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org
They are under the impression that CPS comes in offers all kinds of services and then leave. Sadly they could not be much farther from the truth.
Very often CPS becomes involved as the result of an anonymous phone call. Often this call is made by a former spouse or significant other. Or maybe that neighbor that you had a disagreement last week. The school teacher you disagreed with. A doctor when you chose to get a second opinion. Along with numerous other possible sources of intake report.
While within most states there are criminal penalties for filing a false report, most still allow anonymous reporting instead of confidential. Therefore it is hard to prosecute.
But that is only one example of something few people know. Here are a few others.
*Most states do not require Child welfare workers to take an oath to uphold the Constitution nor the laws.
*Most states do not define the conditions under which their immunity is void in order to bring criminal or civil actions against them.
*Most states’ accountability is over seen from within. Basically “The fox watching the hen house.”
*Federal funding for foster care is uncapped and states are reimbursed 75¢ on the $1.
*Preventative and Reunification services are capped and less than 10% of Federal funding actually goes toward helping the family.
*Child removal often creates a need for child support when none was needed before. Opening a revenue stream through Social Security Title IV-D funding to the courts that did not exist had they not intervened.
*Attorneys, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, child placement agencies and many other entities have created a $40 Billion industry which collects various Federal grants to operate.
*Many companies that have child placement divisions also engage in the private prison system.
*Approximately 80% of former foster children will ultimately end up incarcerated at some point in their lives.
*Within a year of aging out about 50% of Foster children are homeless.
*Parents of Foster children suffer PTSD at about 4 times the rate of combat veterans. Children’s rates are much higher but not documented.
*A medicated child draws more funding than one not on psychotropic drugs.
*The child protection system is thought to be the number one abuser of Medicaid.
*Undocumented minors increases caseloads preventing American families from getting proper investigations.
*A wrongfully removed child is automatically an abused child because they will never be emotionally the same again. Within hours PTSD and Parental Separation Disorder sets in.
*In TEXAS, in 2013 a child was 10.8 times more likely to die in foster care than if they stayed in the the home.
AMERICA, we need to wake up. We need to start paying attention to the damage this upside down system is doing to the future of our nation.
Low hemp harvest yield expected
Story by Lauren Epperson, Contributing writer
By late May, Murray State agriculture students still were awaiting the arrival of the key ingredient to their summer hemp-growing program: the seeds.
Getting them to Murray took two more months, attempted shipments from two countries, a pair of bureaucratic paperwork snafus and two of the largest delivery companies in the world.
“There were significant problems with this year’s seeds,” said Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture.
As a result, this fall’s hemp harvest – the second since the federal government allowed Kentucky universities to grow the crop – won’t be a big one, Brannon said.
“We will probably harvest the full two acres,” he said. “It will not be high yielding, but we will try to harvest all of it.”
Murray State’s agriculture students harvested their first crop last year in late October. But Brannon said college officials haven’t decided when that will be this fall or what they will do with the crop once it’s harvested.
Just getting it to Murray was a logistical miracle.
Sixty tons of seeds left Germany and arrived in Chicago without a key piece of customs paperwork. The seed company, which forgot the seeds’ certification form, paid to ship the 60 tons back to Germany.
Plan B was to receive a different shipment from Canada. FedEx picked up those seeds and brought them to Louisville only to realize FedEx policies prevented them from delivering any hemp seeds, Brannon said.
That hemp went back to Canada, only to be picked up by UPS and returned to Louisville. Upon arrival, U.S. Customs agents seized them and placed them under embargo at the UPS processing and packaging center for another two weeks before the seeds finally reached Murray State.
Murray State’s Department of Agriculture partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, U.S. Hemp Oil and CannaVest this summer to raise and conduct research on hemp for the second time. Murray State became the first university to plant a legal industrial hemp crop in the nation in the spring of 2014.
“It’s been an exciting project,” Brannon said. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for regional agriculture, and if it’s an opportunity for regional agriculture, we want to be a part of it.”
Kentucky was the leading hemp-producing state in the United States until it was outlawed by federal legislation in 1938.
The National Council of State Legislatures has stated that the federal government classifies hemp as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act because it contains trace amounts of the same hallucinogen found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC).
Hemp production was legalized for research purposes at registered state universities when the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed into law in February, 2014.
Although Murray State was the first university to plant hemp for research, it is not the only university. The University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University also have conducted pilot programs concerning hemp.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re one of the only universities in the state that is allowed to conduct this type of research and I hope that we are able to continue in the future with this agricultural pursuit,” said Sarah Luckett, sophomore from Beechmont, Kentucky.
Murray State’s most recent crop, planted July 12, has reached an average height of three to four feet. Murray State’s Department of Agriculture has not yet set a date to harvest the crop or decided how that process will be conducted.
Adam Watson, industrial hemp program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said that he expects the pilot programs to continue and further research to be conducted.
“I think it’s good that our school is able to conduct relevant, respectable and legal research about this issue,” said Chris Albers, junior from Breese, Illinois.
Beside a humming industrial combine, Crofton farmer Kendal Clark gazed across his field, home to the largest hemp crop in Kentucky.
During the harvesting process Tuesday, Clark said while the future is foggy, there is great potential for this year’s crop.
“It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure,” he said. “But it is showing some potential when it didn’t have the best chance in the world. It’s really turning around more than I would have imagined.”
The crop, planted in mid-June, is a first for Clark, who is primarily a tobacco farmer. He said he’s already been contacted by several agencies, including the Epilepsy Foundation and various pharmaceutical chains, for potential uses for the crop.
“The possibilities for this crop have barely been tapped,” he said.
While this is the first year Clark has grown hemp, he is no stranger to the farming game. He has been harvesting most his life and full-time since 1977. Farming is embedded in his family’s roots, and his parents grew hemp during World War II under a federal contract.
Before planting, Clark had to obtain a permit, which he said was a lengthy process. Clark is working through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program, which stemmed from the passage of two separate laws — Senate Bill 50 passed in 2013 and the Farm Bill signed into law February 2014.
Doris Hamilton, coordinator of the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, confirmed Clark’s hemp field is the largest in the state.
Clark is among 99 people approved to plant hemp this year. Last year, the first year hemp production was legal in more than 50 years, that number was only 20.
Hamilton said the approval process is selective and only about a third of applicants were approved this year. Individuals have to go through a background check and orientation before beginning production.
She said the scale of hemp plots this year ranges from small greenhouses to the extent of Clark’s field. Clark’s main field is approximately 60 acres, and he has small additional fields bringing the total up to 100.
Hamilton said yields varied across the state, with some “very successful” and others not so much.
“The rain in July was detrimental to a lot of folks,” she said. The first six weeks are the most crucial, Hamilton added, and if there is too much rain and not enough sunlight, it can damage the crop.
Hamilton expects crops across the state will be developed into several products, ranging from oil to Cannabidiol, used in various medical treatments.
Last year, there were hemp crops in Pembroke and Dawson Springs. Katie Moyer, a local hemp advocate and partner in a new hemp-based company, Legacy Hemp, said the Dawson Springs crop didn’t survive, and the crop harvested in Pembroke is still bundled and waiting for its next move.
Moyer said the next step for Clark’s crop is to put the seed in bins where it can dry. Then the seed cleaning process will begin.
“We are in a good position to benefit big time from this crop,” she said.
A historical crop
Hemp was first grown in Kentucky in 1775, and the state became the leading producer in the nation. The peak production was in the mid-19th century, with 40,000 tons produced in 1850, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Production dropped off after the Civil War, and Kentucky became almost the exclusive producer of hemp.
Federal legislation passed in 1938 outlawed the production of cannabis, including hemp. But production revved up again during World War II.
Clark’s parents were contracted under the government to produce hemp during the war. The crop, like their son’s, was planted in north Christian County. It was used to make rope for the U.S. Navy.
The crop has faced a certain stigma because it is a variety of cannabis sativa, which is of the same plant species as marijuana.
But Clark said the crops are distinctly different, pointing out how easily the difference can be detected by looking at it. He has faced a few jokes around the community about growing hemp, but said the response has generally been positive.
Looking to the future
Clark said he plans on planting hemp again next year, taking what he has learned this season and carrying that knowledge into next year’s crop.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been learning,” he said. “It has intrigued us enough and really hasn’t had a fair chance this year with the weather. We just want to give it the best shot we can.”
The exact economic impact is still unclear, and it may be months before an answer is known.
“This is a grand experiment,” Clark said. “But you have to start somewhere.”
– The first hemp crop in Kentucky was grown in 1775.
– An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year.
– China, Russia and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations and account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.
– More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.
– Current industry estimates report U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.
– It is illegal to grow hemp without a permit from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).
— Information from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s website
Reach Rebecca Walter at 270-887-3241 or email@example.com.
I’m sure this photo makes a lot of people uncomfortable it may even piss a few people off but the main reason I took it was to show the reality of addiction. If you don’t choose recovery every single day this will be your only way out. No parent should have to bury their child and no child as young as ours should have to bury their parent. This was preventable it didn’t have to happen but one wrong choice destroyed his family. I know a lot of people may be upset I’m putting it out in the open like This but hiding the facts is only going to keep this epidemic going. The cold hard truth is heroin kills. You may think it will never happen to you but guess what that’s what Mike thought too. We were together 11 years. I was there before it all started. I knew what he wanted out of this life, all his hopes and dreams. He never would’ve imagined his life would turn out this way. He was once so happy and full of life. He was a great son, brother, friend but most importantly he was a great dad. He loved those kids more than anything. But as we all know sometimes life gets tough and we make some wrong choices. His addiction started off with pain pills then inevitably heroin. He loved us all so much he decided enough was enough and went to rehab at the end of last year. He got out right before Christmas as a brand new man. He had found His purpose for living again, he found his gorgeous smile again, he became the man, the son, the brother, the dad that we all needed him to be again. He did so good for so long but then a couple months ago It started with a single pill for a “tooth ache” which inevitably lead him back down the road of addiction instead of staying the coarse of recovery. He said he could handle it, that he could stop on his own and didn’t need to get help again. Well he was wrong, last Wednesday he took his last breath. My kids father, the man I loved since I was a kid, a great son and a great person lost his battle. I just needed to share his story in case it can help anyone else.
Do you currently use drugs like Lortab, Percocet, Oxycontin, or heroin to get high?
Researchers at the University of Kentucky are conducting a study to examine the strength and effects of prescription opioids. You may be eligible to participate if you are between the ages of 18 and 50, you have taken opioid drugs intranasally (by snorting them), and you can stop using opioids without feeling sick. Participation will require a 5-6 week inpatient stay. Qualified volunteers will be paid for participation. All information is kept strictly confidential. For a confidential interview to see if you qualify, please call: 1-866-933-4UKY.