The Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and the Kentucky Hemp Association are merging.

KYHIA was formerly a state chapter of the national Hemp Industries Association but in July, the HIA disaffiliated all 13 of its state chapters due to a failure to pay dues owned to its state chapters.

The merged associations will operate under the KYHA banner with KYHIA President Tate Hall continuing on as president of the newly merged association with former KYHA President Katie Moyer joining the board as secretary of the new association. The merger will only serve as a positive as it establishes a Kentucky-focused hemp organization, said Hall.

“The merger gives us more freedom,” he said. “While it is a new association by name, we will be honoring all previous KYHIA business and individual membership through spring 2021. Our board is in place and we have added new members and leadership. We are a stronger organization through the merger. Our lobbying goals and connections with congressional and senate leaders have not changed. Truth be told, all of these relationships and efforts are focused solely on Kentucky. We can be more focused and nimble in focusing on the needs of the state while maintaining our relationships nationally. It is an exciting time.”

First District U.S. Rep. James Comer is in full support of the merger and believes it will only strengthen the state’s hemp initiatives, he said.

“As a leader in the movement to legalize industrial hemp, it came as no surprise to me to see Kentucky Hemp pioneers band together to form a cohesive and powerful voice for Kentucky’s hemp farmers, processors, and manufacturers,” he said. “The hemp industry has had its share of obstacles at every turn, but I am confident that the new Kentucky Hemp Association will rise to the challenge and create an environment where hemp can flourish in the Bluegrass State.”

The merger is exciting for the industry as it makes a leap into further organizing the state’s hemp industry’s stakeholders, said Ryan Quarles, Kentucky commissioner of agriculture.

“Kentucky is well-known for its leadership on hemp policy making,” Quarles said. “We are glad the Kentucky Hemp Association is reorganizing from the hemp fields of the Commonwealth and helping advocate for the future of this crop. Given the current hurdles facing the hemp industry, it is more important than ever before that Kentucky growers, processors, and universities are organized to tackle the challenges ahead.”

The newly unified association will only serve to strengthen lobbying efforts, education, and unity, said Moyer.

“I’m excited to join forces with industry trailblazers in order to build a strong association with others inside the commonwealth,” she said. “We value input from our farmers and stakeholders throughout the industry and my goal is to make sure their voices and concerns are acknowledged in both Frankfort and D.C.”

Stakeholders interested in joining the new Kentucky Hemp Association should contact Aleah Rouse atinfo@kyhia.org for more information.

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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