– According to the
West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), industrial hemp farmers in
West Virginia more than quadrupled crop production in 2019 compared to the
previous year. In total, 132 farmers grew 641 acres of industrial hemp this
year. A significant increase from the 155 acres grown in 2018.
“We must be doing
something right in West Virginia for the number of growers and acreage to
increase this dramatically. In just a few years, we have gone from 24
growers, focused solely on research, to a thriving economic opportunity for
our state,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We want West
Virginia to be known as an ideal location to tap into this emerging
industry. Clearly, we are well on our way to that goal.”
Building on the success
of 2019, the number of applicants for the 2020 growing season has more than
doubled. As of October 1, 2019, 407 applications have been submitted for
approval to the WVDA industrial hemp program, and this number should
increase as final submissions come into the Department.
“It is great to
see, despite some uncertainty from our federal partners, continued
excitement and interest surrounding this new, legal crop. The next step for
us is to figure out is how to keep all this raw material being grown within
our borders by converting the plant material into usable supplements,
fibers, fuels and other products. To continue to develop this industry, we
need to pair processors with producers,” Leonhardt said.
On December 20,
2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill which included a
provision to legalize the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp. The
bill removed industrial hemp from the list of federally controlled
substances while clarifying industrial hemp producers may participate in United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs.
The USDA is
expected to issue rules and guidelines sometime this fall. Oversight to
regulate cultivation will continue to rest with individual state
departments of agriculture upon approval by USDA. State pilot projects are
to operate under existing rules until that time.
information or questions, contact Crescent Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org