Kentucky hemp growers discuss options in wake of lawsuit

Local News

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Western Kentucky hemp growers are looking at their options in the wake of a legal battle between the former and current owners of Bluegrass BioExtracts.

The former owners sued the current owners over claims of unfulfilled buying agreements.

“I still feel like they should pay us for our product,” says Neal Rudy, who grew five acres of hemp last year in Daviess County. It cost him about $75,000. He, and other farmers, feel let down because of recent experiences with Bluegrass BioExtract’s new owners.

“The way it looks right now, it looks like it’s been all for nothing. We put a lot of sweat in to this and we could have put this in another crop,” he said.

The farmers talked about the cost of extra testing, deals they say were broken and legal options at a meeting in beaver dam. Dr. John Fuller was among the first to speak out. He grew hemp in Ohio County, and says at least 25 more growers later came forward with their experiences.

“We signed for four dollars per percentage point per pound in the contract and in today’s market, it’s almost impossible to sell right now. We’ve had offers for 50 cents per percentage point per pound, which is way below the cost of operating,” he said, recalling the experiences of growers.

Another problem these farmers face is how to get the product they grew back to them. Fuller claims some biomass is locked up and they can’t get to it yet, and it has a shelf life of less than a year if not in climate controlled conditions.

“As of this point right now, we won’t grow again until we know we got a locked in processor who wants to buy the biomass and use it,” says Rudy.

We also reached out to current and former owners of Bluegrass BioExtracts for comment, but our calls weren’t returned.

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(This story was originally published on January 28, 2020)

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