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It is hard to believe that at one time burley tobacco was not the chief cash crop in Kentucky. Yet for more than half a century hemp dominated the state's agricultural production.

James Hopkins surveys the hemp industry in Kentucky from its beginning through its complete demise at the end of World War II, describing the processes of seeding and harvesting the plant, and marketing manufactured goods made of the fiber.

With debate presently raging over the legalization of industrial hemp, it is essential that an accurate portrait of this controversial resource be available. Although originally published in 1951, Hopkins's work remains remarkably current as hemp manufacturing today is little changed from the practices the author describes. This edition includes an updated bibliography of recent publications concerning the scientific, economic, and political facets of industrial hemp.

James F. Hopkins (1909–1995) was professor of history at the University of Kentucky.

The contention is well-founded that 'an accurate portrait of this controversial resource' is essential to inform the current debate over the legalization of industrial hemp. -- Appalachian Journal

An engaging read that explores the culture and agriculture of hemp. -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

The reprinting of the Hopkins history over a half-century after he researched it comes at a relevant moment in Kentucky political and agrarian debate. -- Southern Seen

Must reading for anyone wanting knowledge concerning how to grow and produce hemp. … Describes in detail the pros and cons of raising it as a cash crop. -- The (Carrollton, KY) News-Democrat

Traces the impact of the state’s former chief cash crop. --

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Hemp industry, Kentucky


United States History

A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky
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