By Morris Beegle
Welcome to my Let’s Talk Hemp weekly industry profile – Shine on You – where I get to feature folks involved in the industry and who are doing important and interesting work from various corners and crevices of the hemp space. This week I have Katie Moyer, founder of Kentucky Hemp Works. I’ve been colleagues with Katie since 2015 and have watched her fight the good fight in Kentucky for sane and rational regulations of hemp since the 2014 farm bill put Kentucky online and a leading hemp state here in the US.
Let’s get to know Katie a bit better and why she loves hemp!
Katie is the founder of Kentucky Hemp Works, a seed and root processing facility in Christian County, Kentucky. When hemp became legal under the Farm Bill of 2014, Katie organized with local farmers to grow hemp and find ways to bring their crops to market using every part of the plant.
As a result of her efforts educating and lobbying across the state, Katie was appointed to the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Advisory Board and the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board. She also serves in an advisory role for Sullivan University’s Cannabis Advisory Board and the Hemp Feed Coalition as part of the Ingredients Work Group. Katie is a graduate of the Leadership Kentucky Class of 2020.
When and why did you get into the hemp/cannabis industry?
I didn’t originally have plans to start a hemp company, much of it happened by fate and hard work. I started producing hemp with local farmers in 2014 after the passage of the 2014 Farm bill, but had been working to legalize hemp since 2007. We succeeded in growing hemp for the 2014 Pilot Program, but had nowhere to sell it or process it. I sought to remedy that by using the leftover roots to make a topical salve, and we tried it on anyone who would sit still long enough to listen to the historical use of hemp roots as treatment for arthritis. Before long I was getting phone calls requesting more of the salve because it was helping people skip their pain medication for weeks at a time. At that point I realized there was a demand for safe, effective, local remedies and that I had the ingredients and knowledge to supply those products to people who needed them. Over a period of 7 years we added more products, processing capabilities, and producers, so we are now able to provide any and all raw materials from Kentucky hemp.
You are involved in non-profit work, can you tell us about the organization/organizations that you work with and what you do with them?
I was recently elected to lead the Kentucky Hemp Association as its newest President. Although many of us in Kentucky have been working toward the rebirth of the industry for decades, we finally decided to join forces and combine the Commonwealth’s largest hemp organizations into one powerful voice for the hemp industry. Our goal is to represent our industry in Frankfort and D.C. with lobbying efforts and by defending our members’ rights to produce and sell hemp. But our goals also lie in the classroom, whether it means working with youth or high school students or providing data, raw materials, or information to institutes of higher education for their research. Our members have shared resources, money and time with a wide variety of students across the country, from varied backgrounds and education levels.
What are your favorite products and/or attributes of the hemp/cannabis plant?
There’s no doubt that hemp roots are my favorite part of the plant, but seeds are a close second! Not only were roots the raw material that launched Kentucky Hemp Works, they’re also an untapped resource that can change the way Americans heal themselves. Roots of the cannabis plant harness the ability to reduce inflammation and relieve pain without the use of cannabinoids…meaning Americans can possess them raw — without a license. Hemp seeds boast the same inflammation-fighting abilities. This is a huge win for individualists who don’t need the FDA’s permission to make decisions about their own health. Eventually consumers will realize the potential for healing that comes from less expensive materials like hemp seeds and roots.
Do you have any current or upcoming projects you’re working on and would like to let folks know about?
One project has been two years in the making but isn’t quite ready to launch. The idea is to create jobs anywhere hemp is grown using leftover stalks. They can be used for beautification and utility in residential and commercial applications, meaning that anyone with some basic construction experience and a knowledge of simple tools can create their own small business using the materials they get from local hemp farmers…plus a little training from yours truly.
What legal issues are you working on in Kentucky?
We are currently embroiled in an expensive legal defense of Kentucky retailers and hemp producers. The issue in question; Does Delta 8 remain a legal product, protected by the Farm Bill of 2018? We attest that it is. Since June, Kentucky retailers have been raided for selling Delta 8 products, or Delta 8 has been used as an excuse to drum up extra charges on something else. We have a court date of Dec 13, at which time we expect the judge will rule in our favor, but the process is an expensive one. We have a great deal of support around the state, but continue to fundraise to cover the cost of those fees.
What legacy would you like to leave for the next generation from your work?
I am truly encouraged by the legacy that’s already forming from my efforts in hemp…the young people! For almost 14 years I’ve been saying that hemp has the ability to get young people excited about agriculture again. The average age of the Kentucky farmer is around 65 years old, and we have to think about the future. Who will feed us in 20 years? I’ve always felt that hemp is a crop with so much excitement that gets young people interested and *holds* their interest. Not just because it’s cannabis (or the stereotype of smoking pot,) but because there are SO many things you can build, make, or improve from hemp. I love seeing the innovative new creations and ideas that have come from young agriculturalists and entrepreneurs in this industry in a few short years. My perfect legacy would be one in which thousands (millions) of young people have the materials and knowledge and use their own imagination to change the world using hemp!
What is your favorite hobby and who are your top 3 favorite bands/musical artists of all time?
My favorite hobby is playing video games, even if I don’t get to do that as often as I’d like. From Final Fantasy to Silent Hill, give me a good storyline and a bevy of side quests and I’m happy for hours. Bonus points for a great soundtrack or songs from legendary SquareEnix composer Nobuo Uematsu. As far as my favorite musical artists, the #1 spot is an easy pick, my husband Alexander Arzamastsev. He’s been writing and producing music for himself and others for 42 years, including Bering Strait and his own Russian Shanson albums. From the rest of the music industry I have a lot of favorites, but you can often find me listening to Lionel Ritchie, Journey, or Whitney Houston.
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About Morris Beegle
Cannabis/hemp advocate and entrepreneur Morris Beegle is Co-founder and President of the WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) family of brands. He is also the producer of NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo as well as publisher of Let’s Talk Hemp. For additional information on what Morris is up to, visit his website at www.morrisbeegle.com and if you would like to get in touch, drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org