Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. signed Senate Bill 263 on April 20, which enacts the Alternative Crop Research Act allowing the Kansas Department of Agriculture to oversee the cultivation of industrial hemp in a research program. KDA has begun the process of developing rules and regulations to guide the Alternative Crop Research Act, which included an open dialogue and information exchange at a public forum May 11. Content from that forum is included on this page.
The opportunity to grow a new specialty oilseed crop in Kansas offers the potential for diversification for Kansas farmers looking for an alternative crop, or for new farming enterprises interested in cultivating industrial hemp. The Kansas agriculture industry has developed a statewide strategic growth plan in recent years, and is committed to pursuing new and innovative opportunities to grow agriculture. The research generated by participants of this new industrial hemp program will be valuable data in identifying the growth potential offered in this sector.
The 2014 Farm Bill included a section to allow for universities and state departments of agriculture to begin cultivating industrial hemp for purposes of research, provided that the growing and cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under state law. Industrial hemp is defined by SB 263 as all parts and varieties of the plant cannabis sativa L that contain a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.