The American Hemp Academy teaches how to grow and process hemp
By Diego Flammini
A school in De Soto, Kan. is helping farmers prepare for a new industry.
The American Hemp Academy is accepting enrollments in its four-day hemp education course. Students will learn how to produce and market the crop.
Commercial hemp production became legal in the United States after President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill.
Anyone interested in the new industry can benefit from the course, said Jo Bisogno, founder of the academy.
“Whether you’re growing small amounts of hemp and harvesting it by hand, a commercial greenhouse producer or have a large field of hemp, this course will prove beneficial to you,” he told Farms.com. “We teach you how to grow hemp, how to harvest it, but then also how to make different products from it.
“You’ll learn how to make things like hemp flour, soaps and oils. When you leave the course, (you’ll have) a pretty good foundation to go out and start your own hemp business.”
Students will use planters specifically designed for hemp, rather than a traditional corn planter.
“The usual cash crop planters break too many seeds,” Bisogno said. “Hemp seeds cost about one dollar per seed, so you don’t want to be damaging any. The equipment here is designed to plant hemp seeds, and we have relationships with the equipment manufacturers should farmers want to continue with hemp production.”
Students pay about US$2,000 for the four-day course but can usually receive reimbursement, Bisogno said.
“We introduce growers to hemp buyers who are excited to do business with someone who has a certified hemp education,” he said. “A lot of the times the buyers will cover the cost of the course for the producer as a way to build that business partnership.”
Bisogno is excited about the potential within an industry “that doesn’t yet exist.”
“When you look at the careers related to a cash crop like corn, you have agronomists, you have seed development and a whole list of other possible career paths,” he said. “Now take all of those job titles and apply hemp to them.
“This industry is going to create a lot of good jobs for people in the United States.”