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State hemp production gaining popularity

State hemp production gaining popularity

Iowa could legalize production soon and Mississippi is exploring the possibility

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Some U.S. states are taking legalized hemp production seriously after the 2018 Farm Bill authorized states to implement individual legalization measures subject to USDA approval.

Iowa’s legislature, for example, passed the Iowa Hemp Act on Thursday. The bill allows farmers to cultivate 40 acres of hemp. Lawmakers have sent the bill to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk for her signature.

Legalizing hemp production benefits several industries, said Rep. Jarad Klein.

“This bill, in my opinion, is a win for everyone: consumers, retailers and, most important to me, the farmers,” he said, KHQA reported. “Allow the building of the infrastructure of this market now so that, when it comes time for our farmers to harvest their crops, there will be a robust demand and an outlook for industrial hemp.”

Other states are exploring whether hemp is a viable crop for farmers.

On Tuesday, Mississippi’s agriculture department announced the creation of the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force.

The group will study the potential of the crop, its market and job opportunities.

“We really don’t lose anything by having this task force,” Andy Gipson, Mississippi’s ag commissioner, told WMC on Tuesday. “My opinion is it is a benefit to the state to learn from the missteps of other states, the problems they’ve experienced (and) the challenges. And frankly, where is this going to be sold? What’s the market for hemp for the benefit of our farmers?

Mississippi farmers want more answers before seeding hemp.

Marketing hemp once several states are producing it could be a challenge, said Mike McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau.

“Is it going to be something we can grow?” he said, WTOK reported. “Is it going to be profitable when all 50 states in the U.S. start growing a crop like this? There’s going to be a lot on the market.”

Not all states, however, are moving forward with commercial hemp production. For example, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a bill last month that would have legalized hemp cultivation in the state.

Farms.com has reached out to farmers in Iowa and Mississippi for comment about the interest in raising hemp.

jessicahyde/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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