MURRAY, Ky. — Representatives from Murray State University participated in a recent visit by Congressman Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The visit, hosted by Kentucky Congressman James Comer, also included other regional and state agricultural and governmental leaders and consisted of several stops, including a tour of the new Fibonacci Hempwood operation and at the Murray State farm to have a listening session on hemp and see hemp research plots, dark tobacco, corn and soybeans.
“It was a great honor to host our own Congressman Comer and House Agriculture Chairman Peterson on the campus of Murray State University for a listening session and a tour of our Hutson School of Agriculture Farm,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Murray State Hutson School of Agriculture. “It was a great opportunity to give the chairman an update on the reinvention of agricultural hemp as a grain, fiber and floral crop on our campus and in our region and state, and to update him on our ongoing student, faculty, and associated partner research.
“We appreciate Congressman Comer extending the invitation and thank both for their leadership in passing the Farm Bill. This was a major step in making agricultural hemp a legal commodity and providing much-needed support for all U.S. agriculture. It’s a good thing to have farmers in Congress.”
As co-chairs of the Murray State Agricultural Leadership Council, students Cristen Shaw of Benton, Illinois, and Vanessa Smith of Benton, Kentucky, represented agriculture students as part of the recent visit. Shaw, a Presidential Fellow, had the opportunity to share some of her ongoing agricultural hemp research with those in attendance.
“It was a privilege to meet Chairman Peterson and to reconnect with Congressman Comer at Murray State University,” Shaw said. “As an undergraduate pre-veterinary student leading a hemp-related research study, I appreciate the involvement and interest both Chairman Peterson and Congressman Comer have in agricultural hemp. I am encouraged to hear how agriculturalists such as Chairman Peterson and Congressman Comer are working hard in D.C. for the advancement of agriculture.”
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.
Earlier this year, the University announced a new Center for Agricultural Hemp, cementing its position in the forefront as a leader in research, education, policy and innovation within the hemp industry.
“It was a privilege to host Chairman Peterson of the House Ag Committee in Murray and have him see first-hand how the hemp industry is flourishing in the area,” said Comer. “Kentuckians are utilizing this crop every day in new, innovative ways. I was glad to have the opportunity to discuss this important industry with Chairman Peterson and hear his insight on ways we can continue to provide opportunities for farmers and producers in the agricultural community.”
“I want to thank Rep. Comer for inviting me out to Murray, Kentucky, to see hemp innovation firsthand,” said Peterson. “It was a great opportunity to see how additional investments in hemp research can hopefully provide new opportunities for our farmers, entrepreneurs, and rural communities.”