In 2014, Kentucky farmer Brian Furnish was looking for ways to diversify his crops. His family had been growing tobacco for eight generations, but the market was withering. If he wanted to keep his farm profitable, he needed something new to grow.
So he helped pioneer Kentucky’s hemp industry, a new crop the state was eager for farmers like him to try, and which showed promise as a high-profit alternative to tobacco. Hemp, he was told, could be used as fiber for clothing and textiles, as livestock feed, and to make an oil that’s used in food supplements. Furnish became the state’s first licensed hemp grower.
A few years later, in the fall of 2017, he sent off samples of his crop for testing. When the results came back he discovered that for some reason – maybe there’d been more rain than usual, or too much sun — five acres of his hemp fields had turned into marijuana. Since marijuana remains illegal both federally and in Kentucky, Furnish had to burn all five acres. [Read more at Politico]