Most frequent questions and answers regarding Industrial Hemp

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Industrial Hemp Basics

What is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial Hemp is hemp grown for further manufacturing for a variety of consumer products.
What Is The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
THC content.Industrial hemp comes from the same strain of the cannabis plant but contains THC under 0.3%.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. Marijuana plants contain around 16%-40% of THC concentration. Planting certified seed as an industrial hemp farmer reduces the risk of producing plants with THC concentrations above the legal limit for industrial hemp.
Why is hemp an important agricultural commodity?
Industrial hemp is important due to its versatility with 25,000 different applications. One hemp plant can be processed for hemp grain / hemp seed, hemp fiber, CBD, and hemp oil. These components can be used in thousands of products.
What can be made from the hemp plant?
Many types of products can be made from the hemp plant for uses in:
1. Food and Beverages
2. Clothing, Jewelry, and Accessories
3. Building Materials
4. Paper, Rope, and other textiles
5. Pharmaceutical
6. Nutraceutical
7. Cosmetics
8. Biofuels
and more.

History of Hemp

When was hemp first used?
The plant was used for a variety of staples in early civilization, such as food, fiber, clothing, sailcloth, rope, and oil. Hemp flowers and seeds were widely used for medical purposes from 2700 BC to around 1400 AD.
What is the history of hemp in North America?
During the colonization of North America in the 1600s, hemp was planted by the first settlers. In some states, it was illegal not to grow hemp. Subsidies were granted in many states during the 1700s to encourage hemp production for canvas and cordage. Hemp was a staple in our agricultural history, due to its strength and versatility. Well-known historical figures such as George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson all grew or processed hemp. Hemp was accepted currency for paying taxes and other bills for about 200 years, during the colonial days.
If hemp was so important, why was it illegal to grow in the United States?
The Marihuana Tax Act in 1937 made all uses of the cannabis extremely difficult through excise tax and rules. Combined with growing anti-drug sentiments, hemp production decreased dramatically. In 1970, The Controlled Substances Act in 1970 determined industrial hemp was considered marijuana and therefore illegal as it stems from the same plant. Raw hemp was legal to import from some countries, but the zero-tolerance policy, halted the growth of hemp in the United States on a Federal level, until 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed the growth of industrial hemp under state pilot programs. The new 2018 Farm Bill classified industrial hemp an agricultural commodity, legal to grow, and covered under federal crop insurance.

Growing industrial Hemp

What kind of seeds should I purchase?
The best practice is to use Certified hemp seed. These plants have gone through multiple tests and agencies to verify the purity of its seed. The plants are < 3% THC. Different strains are marketed for higher grain/seed yield, fiber length and quality, and CBD percentages. Certified seeds do not guarantee output, due to other factors, such as environmental, soil quality, etc. It will, however, increase your odds of a profitable grow and an excellent chance of a field within THC limits of hemp for your state. If you have a contract to grow, approved seeds may be listed in the agreement.
What type of soil is best for hemp?
Hemp ideally prefers loam soil with a pH between 6.0 – 7.5 or at least heavier soil with good drainage. Highly compacted, cold soil temperatures (45◦ to 50◦ F) and/or overly saturated soil conditions are not recommended as seeds to young plants struggle hard in cooler, waterlogged soil. Dry sandy soil does not contain enough nutrients and would require additional fertilizer and water.
Do I need to fertilize my field?
Hemp does well in nutrient-rich soil but test your soil first. If you are unable to test, fertilize like you would for corn or high protein wheat. Hemp uses a lot of nitrogen during the grow cycle. It’s also sensitive to seed-placed nutrients (N, P, K, S). For Organic farmers, planting a cover crop, like clover, legumes or alfalfa the year before can aid in adding nitrogen back into the soil, as a “green plow-down”
How to I control weeds?
Smart crop rotation, planting density, and visual inspections are the best ways to manage weeds and pests. It is not recommended to use a small seed variety as wild buckwheat can be hard to clean out. It is not recommended to plant hemp on the same fields that had barley or wheat the previous year. These grass crops are hard to remove from the hemp plant during harvest and cleaning. High germination percentages and dense rows will offer more weed control as they limit light penetration. Planting clover is also an efficient way to control weeds. If you have a contract to grow, make sure you refer to their guidelines on pest and weed management.
Is hemp susceptible to disease and pests?
Yes, hemp can be affected by pests like Japanese beetles, mites, aphids, cutworms, and corn borers. Most hemp farmers rarely see any insect damage other than cutworms. Consistent visual inspection is the best way to handle these pests, as there are no approved pesticides for hemp. Diseases like white mold (Sclerotinia) and grey mold (Botrytis) can affect hemp by spreading from equipment, in irrigated fields, high humidity, and spore build up. Due to hemp’s quick germination cycle, these molds don’t typically affect the whole field. Birds can also be an issue when the hemp and grain are at maturity.
When should I plant hemp?
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance recommends planting when the temperature of the soil at depth of 2 inches is between 8 – 10◦C (46-50◦F) for at least 2-3 days. That’s not to say seed depth is 2”. You should plant the seeds at a depth of .5 to .75 of an inch deep.

Industrial Hemp License Information

Yes, for states where it is legal to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes, a license is required. If your state does not offer licenses for hemp, then it is illegal to grow, currently. The following are links to state license sites with permits for commercial hemp. This list will update as more states offer permits

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