MURRAY — The Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA) and Murray State University’s Hutson School of Agriculture hosted a Holiday Conference and Tradeshow at the CFSB Center in Murray Thursday.
The all-day event brought together leaders in the hemp industry and others to discuss various topics relating to the fledgling industry. The event provided the opportunity for attendees to meet with the region’s leading hemp growers, processors, retailers and more.
“This is through the KYHIA; it is new activity for them,” said Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. “They have had an annual show, but those shows have always been in Lexington, Elizabethtown or Bowling Green. I serve in an advisory role in that organization, and I threw out the opportunity to bring it to the western end of the state. They wanted to do something a little bit different, so we were able to able to host it and coordinate with them with the program.”
The day featured a series of sessions, with speakers including Doris Hamilton, hemp program manager for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Martin Barbre, administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. Those in attendance also were able to visit various booths set up throughout the day to visit with various businesses operating in the hemp industry.
“We are pleased to partner with any and everybody, and the KYHIA has brought their show on the road here,” Brannon said. “From producing to processing, it is covering all of the gamuts in the industry.”
Brannon said the hope was to bring these industry professionals closer to those involved in hemp production on this side of the state.
“Their focus is not specifically on growing, but we have grower groups that are down in this area and a lot of experience,” he said. “We have a lot of people still looking to see what might fit with their operation, and I have seen several of those folks here today.”
Brannon said those in attendance range from those with years of experience with hemp and those who might be looking to break into the market. At the end of the day, Brannon said the event is a means for everyone in the industry to continue to learn.
“It has been a good opportunity for either first exposure, or continuing professional development,” Brannon said.