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Spoonbill

Farm Bill passage bolsters Pulaski hemp business

Southfork Wally should get high from this.

 

 

By Chris Harris Commonwealth Journal

Jul 1, 2018

Pulaski’s own burgeoning hemp oil business was bolstered Friday by Sen. Mitch McDonnell’s “Farm Bill” getting approval by the Senate.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or Farm Bill, is purposed to strengthen the safety measures that directly help commodity producers as they confront low prices and the constant threat of natural disasters. It also seizes on a number of opportunities to invest in the future of American agriculture and rural communities.

 It also contains a provision that would empower farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp, a potential major cash crop for Kentucky, a state that has seen its days as a tobacco powerhouse go by the wayside. The bill also focuses on expanding rural broadband and water infrastructure and continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic is devastating rural America.

 

 A conference committee made up with members from both chambers will now reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill.

 Ross Rutt is the owner of Kentucky-Pure Botanical Sciences LLC. Rutt, a Pulaski Countian and advocate for legalized marijuana use during the last Kentucky General Assembly session, where both medicinal and recreational use options were discussed (neither approved). Rutt is excited to see the Farm Bill take these crucial steps toward becoming the shaper of Kentucky’s industrial future.

“I am very, very appreciate for Sen. McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky’s two U.S. Senators) for making this happen,” Rutt told the Commonwealth Journal.

“This will make a big difference for us,” he continued. “What it will do is, number one, open up the ability for farmers to get crop insurance on hemp; that’s a big deal. The second thing is with the de-scheduling of hemp allows banking institutions to provide more backing to businesses like mine that need to be able to grow. It opens up new investors that were probably not interested in doing business with us before that will now be very interested.”

Kentucky-Pure Botanical Sciences will focus on cannabidiol, or CBD, oil, both isolate and full-spectrum, which is legal in the Commonwealth. Kentucky-Pure would work with local farmers and start a network to create high-potency hemp flower oil, which Rutt would that put trough the extraction process and “break the flower down into the oil that has the fatty acids, proteins, all the essential stuff that you need.” Kentucky-Pure would then partner with consumer products brands to create a line of hemp and CBD-infused products,

Rutt compared it to the “Kentucky Proud” seal of approval on food and items grown and created here in the state, or the “kosher” symbol on foods, with a Kentucky-Pure logo that identifies its presence in a product.

The insurance aspect is important, Rutt said, because removing raw hemp flower and CBD from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) Schedule 1 list allows insurance companies to include hemp in their crop insurance options.

 

“Right now, farmers engaged in hemp farming have no crop insurance; if their crops are damaged, they’ve just lost out,” said Rutt. “They can replace that now in case something catastrophic happens because they’ll be able to get that insurance. It lessens their risk and opens our ability to fund this (business) and provide for the larger market.”

In a statement, McConnell said his time serving on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee has given him a perspective on how important the Farm Bill is to agricultural communities.

“From soybeans and corn to hay and tobacco to poultry and livestock, Kentucky agriculture encompasses a multi-billion-dollar industry that supports thousands and thousands of good jobs in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth,” said McConnell. “Kentuckians know as well as anyone just how important American agriculture is -- and we understand as well as anyone all the unique challenges that it faces. That is why I proudly supported this bill, which will bolster programs supporting our producers.”

Added Mark Haney, Kentucky Farm Bureau President and a Pulaski Countian himself, said, “Today’s passage of the Senate version of the Farm Bill takes farm families here in Kentucky and across the country one step closer to the certainty they need to survive such a tough agricultural economy.

“I would like to thank Senator McConnell on his extensive efforts to move forward the single most important piece of legislation affecting agriculture and rural communities,” added Haney.

In collaboration with agriculture leaders in Kentucky, McConnell utilized his position as Senate Majority Leader to secure language in the 2014 Farm Bill to authorize hemp research pilot programs. McConnell worked with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and his predecessor, now-U.S. Representative James Comer to spearhead programs allowing Kentucky farmers to both research the plant and to demonstrate its potential.

 
 
 

 

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