MURRAY — Murray State University has announced a new foundational partner, GenCanna Global, for the recently established Center for Agricultural Hemp. The new center will be administered by the University’s Hutson School of Agriculture in coordination with industry partners while continuing to position Murray State as a leader in research, education, policy and innovation within the hemp industry.
The center will focus on several primary topics and initiatives involving agronomy, cannabinoid science, agribusiness, economics and finance, animal feeds and fibers, education, hemp policy, workforce development and agricultural hemp farming.
“We at GenCanna believe that Murray State University, situated in a natural hub for the hemp industry, can provide a ‘Kentucky Proud’ solution that can benefit the entire nation,” said GenCanna Global President Steve Bevan. “Helping farmers farm improves rural economies through jobs and increased output, both stemming from increased research and investment.”
GenCanna Global and the University’s Hutson School of Agriculture have been active participants of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA)’s hemp program since 2014. After five successful years working with farmers in central Kentucky, GenCanna has begun a significant expansion into the west Kentucky/Jackson Purchase region for 2019. This west Kentucky expansion includes working with a network of more than 25 experienced farmers, the establishment of a corporate farm (the Miranda Farm) near Sedalia, Kentucky, the development of a new crop processing and drying facility in Hickory, Kentucky, and the build out of a product development and retail space in downtown Paducah. Through this, GenCanna expects to create 80-100 jobs in west Kentucky by 2021.
The University’s leadership within the area of hemp exploration is historic and diverse within higher education. Murray State planted the first legal agricultural hemp research plot on May 12, 2014. Since that time, the University has been on the front line of exploration of the crop, hosting field days while continually working with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, local farmers, researchers, legislators, companies and partners to assist in the development of the industry within the region and commonwealth.
In addition to a substantial increase in student enrollment, Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture has added many new programs and initiatives to support student interest for innovative and emerging careers, the latest such being the creation of the Center for Agricultural Hemp.
“There is an exploding interest in growing agricultural hemp in our region of the commonwealth, particularly among dark tobacco growers,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture. “One of the primary drivers of this interest is the investment that GenCanna Global is making in our service region. We are excited to partner with them in this Center initiative and look forward to growing the industry”.
“We are excited about this center and the support of our first two Foundational partners, CV Sciences and GenCanna Global and we invite others who would like to align with us as partners or donors to come join us as we reinvent this historic commonwealth of Kentucky crop while bringing important economic activity to our region,” Brannon added.
Industry leaders, companies and individuals who wish to partner with Murray State’s vision for this center are encouraged to contact Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Brian Parr, assistant dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, at email@example.com, or by calling 270-809-3936.