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Historical society to host Woodford Tomorrow

To celebrate National Hemp Week, Woodford Tomorrow will present an informal program about today's diversified hemp industry on Saturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the front lawn of the Woodford County Historical Society at 121 Rose Hill in Versailles. An information table will provide brochures and examples of the way hemp is used today. In the event of inclement weather, this program will be in the society's building behind the lawn. For the record, as far back as 1775, hemp was grown in Kentucky and was the chief cash crop in the antebellum Bluegrass. It supplied the cotton states with rope and bagging. Its processing was tedious labor then and over many months, from cutting in late summer through several more processes in late winter. Stronger and cheaper fiber from the Far East replaced it shortly after 1860. However, during World War II when foreign supplies were cut off, the Navy needed rope and oakum, a waste by-product used for caulking. In 1941, the Kentucky-Illinois Hemp Company built a plant in Versailles with 2,000 acres under contract to produce this fiber. Although not operating, this facility is still standing on the right side of present day Preston Court. Anyone is welcome to come to this free presentation. Those who have hemp artifacts and/or heirlooms are asked to bring them to this event to share with others.

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