By Spike Bowan | May 28, 2018
With the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 set to Steamroll Capitol Hill, the potential aid for struggling farms across the Nation is a very real beacon of hope!
There are many farms across the United States that are struggling. It is not just financially that these farmers are feeling the burden, but they are also feeling the strain due to lack of water for crops.
In the midwest and points westward, water shortages and drought conditions are a very real threat to crop output, thus hindering the very livelihood of Americas agricultural communities. This is where Hemp comes into play. You see, unlike other crops, Hemp doesn't use as much water in the long run. THis is a good thing, especially for farms located in more arid climates.
Hemp can be grown to harvest on about half as much water as corn can. Hemp also tolerates a wide variety of soils and temperatures, requires no pesticides, and grows extremely fast, soaring to as much as 20 feet in 100 days according to PSMag.com.
“...if hemp eventually replaces other crops across large acreages, it could free up precious water supplies in the arid West for other uses. This could become especially important with climate change expected to shrink Western mountain snow packs.
"It uses more water at the very beginning of its growth," said Geoff Whaling, chairman of the National Hemp Association. "But once it kind of passes its early development stage—about three weeks—it becomes one of the most drought-tolerant crops on the planet."
Western states are already leading the pack among hemp growers. In 2017, Colorado was the largest producer, with 9,700 acres harvested, followed by Oregon with just under 3,500 acres. Montana, Nevada, and Washington each harvested close to 1,000 acres last year. New Mexico is expected to join the list this year.” (Read More)
Growing hemp is currently allowed under the 2014 Farm Bill, which gives states the power to create their own research program for the crop. Wisconsin lawmakers passed legislation last fall to create the state’s hemp program, following 33 other states including Minnesota and North Dakota according to WPR.org.
“Proposed federal legislation could make it easier for industrial hemp growers and processors to set up shop in Wisconsin.
But because hemp is listed under the federal Controlled Substances Act, confusion over the legality of growing and processing hemp continues.
The new federal legislation would clarify that hemp is a legal agricultural commodity and make it eligible for some U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.
"If this were to pass at the federal level, it would give growers much more comfort and confidence in kind of where the line is and kind of clarify a number of things that are murky," said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which regulates Wisconsin’s hemp program.
Kuhn said the proposed law would continue to have states regulate hemp production, which means DATCP officials wouldn’t have to make major changes to the state’s new program. The bill would also allow hemp to be covered by federal crop insurance.” (Read More)
While hemp is a hardy plant from the Cannabis family, it should not to be confused with marijuana. Contrary to what many believe, hemp can’t get you high. It contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive chemical THC, very different from marijuana. Because of current U.S. laws, up until now, much of industrial hemp has been grown exclusively outside of the country.
Stated in a press release from Senator McConnell’s office, “The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 … builds upon the success we have seen through the hemp pilot programs by allowing states to be the primary regulators of hemp (if the U.S. Department of Agriculture approves their implementation plan).
This legislation will also remove the federal barriers in place that have stifled the industry, which will help expand the domestic production of hemp.
It will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – allowing them to continue their impressive work with the support of federal research dollars.” To read the full press release from McConnell’s office, click here.
With all this hope on the horizon, it is begginning to look like Hemp is going to be a real God send to the agricultural industry in these United States.
(Cover Photo Source Credit: Pintrest)