Friends of HEMP
Board of Directors
Annie Rouse (Founder and President) – Annie Rouse is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar who studied the environmental life cycle of industrial hemp in Canada. She modeled hemp building materials within hempcrete and biofiber hemp blocks, assessing the materials’ carbon footprint, resource depletion and toxicological impact. Ms. Rouse holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky in Economics and a Master’s Degree in International Environmental Policy and an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Ms. Rouse is also founder of Think Hempy Thoughts, a marketplace for the conscious consumer geared towards improving quality and transparency in the CBD market. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and is a member of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Betsy Kephart (Secretary) – Betsy Kephart was born and raised in Northern Kentucky in the greater Cincinnati area, but has lived on rural Kentucky farms since 1976. She and her husband have lived on their Bourbon County farm for 30+ years. They have raised tobacco, cattle, chickens, organic vegetables, and currently have a one acre vineyard. Their vineyard includes two varietal hybrids – chambourcin, a French-American hybrid, and cayuga, an American hybrid. They have sold their grapes to Jeanne Farris Winery and Bistro, Wildside Winery, and Lover’s Leap Vineyards and Winery, among others. Mrs. Kephart is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in History. Before retiring in 2016, she worked as an Administrative Research Assistant Principal in the Office of the Dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. She and her husband are in the process of developing and initiating a new business that will incorporate hemp seed in the final product.
Joseph Hickey (Treasurer) – Joseph Hickey’s roots in the hemp industry began in 1993 as founder and Executive Director of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative. Soon after, he was convincing then Gov. Brereton Jones to form the Hemp Task Force (to study the feasibility of hemp as a Kentucky cash crop). In 1998, Mr. Hickey was a founder and board member of Kenex Ltd, Canada’s first commercial hemp seed and fiber processing company. For over a decade, Mr. Hickey helped start and grow a number of environmentally conscious organizations, including Tierra Madre, LLC with Woody Harrelson, Baswood, and Prairie Pulp & Paper. Upon Kentucky’s reintroduction of hemp in early 2014, Mr. Hickey became a founding member of Hemp Oil Kentucky, Kentucky Hemp Seed Research & Development Co. and Kenex Kentucky. He is currently working with farmers, state regulators and attorneys to bring Kentucky its first commercial scale hemp seed breeding, crushing, and fiber processing facility.
Georgia Rodes (Board Member)- Georgia Rodes is a Kentucky native who grew up on Rodesia Farm in Harrodsburg. Mrs. Rodes is currently a Trustee to Frontier Nursing Service and serves on the Board of Directors at the McDowell House Museum. In addition, she is a Lexington Women’s Club Honorary Member. In the past, she served on the Board of Directors at the Headley Museum, Midway College, Lexington Philanthropic, and the Salvation Army.
Jane Harrod (Board Member)– Jane Harrod is a Kentuckian with deep roots to the farming community, social activism and music. Her native restoration business of 35 years, Jane’s Native Seed, has had significant impact by putting back native geno-type wildflowers into numerous projects around Kentucky, with the Olmsted -Louisville Parks restoration being one of the most significant and high profile.
Ms. Harrod proudly served from 1992 through 1997 on the board of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth learning how to move our political landscape toward justice for all. She served on the Governor’s Forestry Board from 2001 until 2003 researching and recommending the ‘Best Management Practices’ for Forestry that we work from today. Today she farms hogs , cattle, vegetables and hemp along with her two brothers at her Clays Ferry farm south of Lexington.
Dale Josey (Board Member) – Bio coming soon!
Recently added board members – Bios and photos coming soon!