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.
It was a great discussion from many different angles but what the defining question that must be answered first and foremost is, “What is the definition of ‘Research’.
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!
Stay tuned – we will keep you updated as more details for participation are available. We anxiously await seeing emerald fields of hemp again in Pennsylvania next year!
For individuals interested in growing industrial hemp on a smaller scale for community use (hempcrete, livestock bedding, livestock feed, roasted seed, and oil), what will the process entail? Will the community garden need to be associated with a local university to be considered a pilot program? Will the state be authorizing individuals to grow/manufacture/market in order to research how hemp can benefit communities? I’m not a farmer, but know a few people interested in a hemp community garden in the Pittsburgh area once the process is finalized. There is not a lot of useful information to be found and any help will be appreciated. Thank you, Corey.
We are in the processing of drafting a proposal for a pilot program right now. The Dept. has had only had a month since the law was passed and many of the details of what you are asking are yet to be determined. Ideally we would like to see your proposed scenario not be required to go through a university but unfortunately we just don’t know at this point. We will definitely be keeping everyone updated as the details of the procedure become available!