EAST LANSING, Mich. — The 2018 Farm Bill made provision for commercialization of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in the U.S. However, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will not be releasing its regulatory framework for states to follow until the fall of 2019, all states are limited this year to hemp production conducted under research agreements per language in the 2014 Farm Bill. On April 18, 2019, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced its launch of the Industrial Hemp Ag Pilot Program for the 2019 growing season. According to MDARD, as of June 7, “331 Grower and 223 Processor-Handler licenses have been issued….[for] 615 ‘growing locations’…totaling over 25,000 acres.” Registration for these licenses are still open, and details for registering can be found in this Michigan State University Extension article and at MDARD’s Industrial Hemp Ag-Pilot Program for 2019 Planting Seasonwebsite.
Calls and emails continue to come in to MSU Extension offices throughout the state from people looking for general information about industrial hemp as well as recommendations on numerous topics from seed sources to soil fertility to plant spacing to irrigation. A number of these basic agronomic issues—as well as other “Hemp 101” topics—were addressed in MSU’s Industrial Hemp Production in Michigan bulletin, which can be found on MSU’s Hemp Production webpage. James DeDecker, Brook Wilke and Eric Anderson have created a presentation based on the information found in this bulletin that will lead off a free webinar hosted by MSU Extension.
The second half of the webinar will focus on irrigation considerations for those wanting to supplement rainfall in various hemp production systems. Lyndon Kelley, irrigation educator for Michigan State University and Purdue University, will discuss important principles when considering drip or overhead irrigation. Milan Kluko, the founder and principal of Harvest Moon Sustainable Ventures, a vertical farming operation, will be a guest speaker bringing experience in growing industrial hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) production in the Northwest over the past three years. He has provided consulting services to organic and traditional farm operations as well as to hemp growing and extraction operations in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Indiana.
The free Industrial Hemp Production and Irrigation Webinar will take place June 24, 2019, from 1–3 p.m. and can be viewed via computer or mobile device. To sign up for the webinar, follow the Industrial Hemp Production and Irrigation Webinar registration link. You may need to download Zoom software prior to joining the webinar, so login early enough that day to allow time for that step. You can also participate via phone for the audio portion only.
If you are unable to attend the live webinar, the recording will be archived on MSU’s Hemp Production webpage. For more information, or if you have accessibility needs, contact Eric Anderson at 269-467-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Eric Anderson, Michigan State University Extension
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