Kentucky’s resurgent hemp sector flexed more economic clout in 2018, with processors reporting sharply higher sales and farmers reaping more than twice as much income from their crop, the state’s agriculture commissioner said Monday.

The state’s hemp processors reported $57.75 million in gross product sales last year, compared with $16.7 million in 2017, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said.

Processors spent $23.4 million in capital improvements and employed a total of 459 people in 2018, he said.

Processors paid Kentucky farmers $17.75 million for harvested hemp materials in 2018, up from $7.5 million the year before, Quarles said.

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Bruce Schreiner ~ Associated Press