CYNTHIANA, Ky. — The United States Hemp Roundtable presented Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles with its “Friend of Hemp Award” at Kentucky Hemp Days during Hemp History Week. The award is presented to individuals who exhibit tireless leadership on behalf of the industry. The industry group also recognized U.S. Reps.Thomas Massie and Andy Barr for their stewardship of the growing hemp industry in Kentucky.

“When I became Commissioner of Agriculture, I wanted to make Kentucky a national leader in industrial hemp research by empowering our farmers and processors,” said Quarles. “Kentucky’s hemp history is unparalleled, and I am optimistic about its future. I am incredibly honored to have been presented with this award.”

Under Commissioner Quarles’ direction, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture led the effort to strengthen the legal framework governing Kentucky’s industrial hemp research pilot program. In 2017, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 218, which allows KDA to run its research program in an effective and efficient manner.

“Commissioner Quarles and his staff have led the way in building a hemp program with buy-in from Kentucky growers, processors, and law enforcement officers,” said U.S. Hemp Roundtable President Brian Furnish. “Simply put, the industrial hemp industry would not be where it is today without the leadership of Commissioner Quarles. We are incredibly grateful to him for continuing to lead and for never backing down from defending our farmers and processors.”

Preliminary analysis from KDA shows Kentucky licensed processors paid Kentucky growers $7.5 million for harvested hemp in 2017. Additionally, Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program processor licensees reported $25.6 million in capital improvements and investments and $16.7 million in gross product sales.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the hemp industry’s leading national business association, represents more than 30 companies and national organizations from across the U.S.

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