Interest in industrial hemp farming grows

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Progress is being made to give farmers

the option to grow industrial hemp in Indiana.

The newly formed Purdue Industrial Hemp Research Group

met recently to discuss what needs to happen next.

“The group has decided to start taking the necessary

steps to grow hemp for research purposes in spring of 2015,” said Tayler Glover,

vice president of the association.

Although Gov. Mike Pence legalized its growth in Indiana

this year, farmers can’t yet grow the hemp due to federal laws.

State Chemist and Seed Commissioner Robert Waltz sent a

letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration asking for permission to grow hemp

for research at Purdue University.

“We’re optimistic that we’re going to get permission to

do pilot projects, limited to university research, this spring,” Glover said.

Researchers at Purdue will study hemp varieties, soil

fertility, crop nutrition, potential diseases and harvesting techniques.

“In addition, we discussed that we need to conduct some

economic studies, as well,” Glover said. “That has to deal with supply chain

management. We are mostly concerned with getting our ducks in a row before

spring. We want Indiana farmers or potential industry leaders have the best

information possible when it’s time to grow.”

In the meantime, farmers have had many questions about

hemp growth.

“Indiana Hemp Industries Association has been fielding

telephone calls from interested farmers, as well as visiting with interested

farmers,” said Jamie Campbell, president. “We are also in contact with various

hemp-related businesses in Indiana, and they are becoming more focused and

motivated about hemp being grown right here.”

It’s important for Indiana to be at the forefront of

industry innovation, Glover said.

Neighboring states, including Illinois and Kentucky,

already have taken measures to plant hemp. By staying at the head of the pack,

Indiana could attract hemp processors, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to the

state.

“We want to help Hoosiers be innovative, successful and

lead the way in any way that we can.,” Glover said. “That pertains to farmers,

entrepreneurs, business owners and people who believe it can benefit the state.

“We are planning to continue to advocate for those

people. We’ll be continuing education efforts all winter so we can be ready to

plant in the spring.”

 

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 317-726-5391, ext. 4,

or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at AgNews_Quinlan.

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