LEXINGTON, Ky. — After a long hiatus because of COVID-19, The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is back hosting the annual Hemp Field Day for the first time since 2019.
Hemp Field Day is all about laying the groundwork, to give farmers like Cindy Kobbins the tools she needs to succeed.
“My daughter and son-in-law, they wanted to get into farming but it is extremely expensive so my husband retired and we moved down here and got some land and we are starting a farm for them,” Kobbins said.
Henola is a variety of hemp grown by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture students. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson)
Kobbins and her son-in-law, Michael, are new to hemp farming. After purchasing land in Grayson County (Clifty Church Family Farm), the family started this year with a small one-acre plot to do research and development.
“Establish everyone in the house and have background checks on everybody,” Michael Graff said. “We also had a GPS coordinate for every building and every field we were going to use no matter what it was.”
That all starts with knowing the facts. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment provided hemp tours that include transplanted hemp grown for cannabinoids or essential oils, direct-seeded hemp for fiber and grain production, and pest management.
“As they walk around, they’re going to see some that honestly don’t look so good, they’re just not very well adapted to these conditions, like the ones behind me here that are very well adapted,” Bob Pearce, interim director of hemp programs at The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Hemp Field Day also included pest identification workshops. Attendees rotated between hands-on stations where they could identify plant diseases, insects and nutrition issues farmers may come across.
“This is really the completion of our mission. We’ve collected all of this data, we’ve got this information and now we have an opportunity to communicate that to our clientele out in the state,” Pearce said.
Information Kobbins and her family will take back to their farm in Grayson County.
“It was very important, especially the insects. I mean, all the topics were just right on point for the information we need going forward so we can know what we’re going to run into,” Kobbins said.
As they work towards building a future in farming.
“He’s got about 200 acres. Right now we have 77 of it and we want to just plant it all for our future kids and grandkids and get something established for them,” Graff said.
Attendees at Hemp Field Day also learned about CBD clinical trials, KDA Hemp updates and the Hemp economic outlook.