Farm Bill Helps Pave Way for Hemp Production

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The farm bill has passed through the House and the Senate and received President Trump’s signature on Dec. 20. While some agricultural industries were let down, other industries may have an opportunity to thrive.

According to Jerry Fankhauser, assistant director of the University of Florida’s Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, the farm bill includes language that will take industrial hemp off of the Schedule I control list with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Industrial hemp will now be considered an agricultural commodity.

Due to this new language, those who hope to grow hemp may get that opportunity sooner rather than later. “This (the farm bill language)will open up opportunities, potentially for growers in all 50 states to grow and market this crop,” Fankhauser says.

Fankhauser, who’s involved in the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Industrial Hemp Pilot Project,says the program is working on acquiring seeds to begin field studies.

The new farm bill is well on its way to becoming law, but Fankhauser is not sure if it will impact the UF/IFAS hemp project early on. However, he believes it will bring some benefits to the program. “We do believe it will give us an opportunity to engage with growers, talk to them and update legislators and others with what we’re finding out. This may lead to growers eventually growing the crop, once legislation allows for that,” he concludes.

Listen to Fankhauser’s interview:

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Dan Cooper

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