Commercial Hemp Production Approved in Indiana
By Shelley Swearingen #yourlandwoman | October 27, 2020
Indiana farmers and landowners will now be allowed to commercially grow and process hemp. Just yesterday, the USDA announced the approval for a new program regarding hemp production. The previous program required hemp growers to partner with a university and acquire a research proposal. Under the new guidelines, farmers can apply to be a commercial producer through the Office of the Indiana State Chemist (OISC). Applications open next month.
Hemp and Marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis plant. Hemp contains a very low THC content; it lacks the psychoactive properties of marijuana – meaning you can’t get ‘high’ off of hemp plants. Hemp has thousands of different uses, and has become a popular local talking point since the legalization of CBD products in Indiana.
By allowing farmers to produce hemp commercially and removing barriers to entry, it will allow them to try different methods and cultivate successful healthy plants prior to legalization. Currently, marijuana is illegal at the federal level and hemp is legal. It is illegal to transfer product over state lines. This means that each state must produce their own marijuana product for sale within their borders.
Furthermore, Indiana farmland is notorious (especially in the West-Central region) for our high-quality soil and productive yields. Our climate is conducive to producing excellent results and thus reduces the cost of cultivation. Other states are forced to grow the plant indoors – you can imagine how costly this endeavor must be.
The expansion of the hemp program in Indiana means additional opportunities to Hoosier ag producers. It allows farmers to become familiar with the plant and tap into an emerging market. The sale of marijuana for recreational use is legal in two neighboring states (Illinois & Michigan) and medicinally in one (Ohio). It appears that the plant will become legal for medicinal use in Kentucky in the very near future.
As we see more and more states make the move to legalization, it’s only rational to surmise that the country may eventually de-schedule the plant also. When this happens, Indiana is poised to become an industry leader for crop production.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) assists hemp growers and processors in Indiana. Hopefully, we will see some grants and assistance programs offered to help Indiana farmers get this program up and running.
At Geswein Farm and Land, we strive to stay current on agricultural news and keep our local community informed. We’ve been helping farmers, families, ag producers, ranchers, and foresters since 1977 in the sale and acquisition of farmland, developmental land, recreational land, and homesites. Politics and personal opinions aside, the emerging hemp market is a huge financial opportunity for local farmers.
To learn more, you can read the official press release HERE.
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