Two major hemp industry players in Kentucky have merged to form one voice for the state’s hemp growers. The Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA) and the Kentucky Hemp Association are now running as one taking the name of the latter.
Tate Hall will run the newly formed Kentucky Hemp Association (KYHA) as president according to a press release announcing the merger. Tate is from the initial Kentucky Hemp Association. The Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA) ‘s former president, Katie Moyer, will be the new outfit’s secretary.
Before the merger, KYHIA was a member of the Hemp Industries Association that represents various hemp stakeholders across the US and Canada. However, KYHIA’s 13 state chapters got disaffiliated after not paying dues in July.
According to Jana Groda who was the vice president to KYHIA and keeps his seat in the new merger, the unanimous vote to merge is a move to strengthen their focus on local Kentucky farmers. The vote came after the KYHIA disaffiliated with the National Board.
Several other state leaders voiced their support for the newly formed Kentucky Hemp Association (KYHA). Senator Rand Paul, in the press release, said that he was eager to work with KYHA. He termed the merger as a move to give hemp in Kentucky and DC a powerful voice.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles lauded the state’s leadership in hemp policymaking. He said that he was glad the Kentucky Hemp Association was restructuring and advocating for the crop’s future. The current challenges facing the hemp industry, it is crucial that the Kentucky hemp stakeholders come together to tackle them.
In 2018, Kentucky saw just 210 licensed hemp farmers. However, in 2018, the numbers more than tripled to hit 978 with a total of 60000 acres of hemp fields planted.