Just 8 days after Governor Wolf signed the Industrial Hemp Bill into law, the PA Department of Agriculture held a stakeholders meeting to discuss the roll out of the program. While there wasn’t much they could do before the legislation actually passed, its clear they have been hard at work for a while.
We are proud of our Dept. of Agriculture and the enthusiasm they are demonstrating for this program. There is much work to be done, but their openness in listening to ideas, suggestions and hopes for this new industry is very encouraging.
Many aspects of the industry were represented at the meeting. PAHIC, Pennsylvania Farmers Union, PA Preferred, Penn State, lawyers , processors and farmers were among the 20 or so participants in the meeting.
We presented the case that there is scientific research that needs to be done which will be best suited for the institutes of higher education with traditional test plots. But marketing research is also legitimate research which would include commerce. Precedence has been set that this is indeed compatible with federal guidelines under section 7606 of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.
While there are still many unknowns as the process unfolds, the Department felt that they should be ready to start accepting applications for projects by the end of the year and confident we will have seeds in the ground by next planting season!