Farming

Why Regenerative Agriculture? – Industrial Hemp is THE Crop…
The key to regenerative agriculture is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but actually improves it, using technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment. Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies. It is a dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters and pasture cropping, to increase food production, farmers’ income and especially, topsoil. The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, pose a mortal threat to our future survival. According to soil scientists, at current rates of soil destruction (i.e. decarbonization, erosion, desertification, chemical [...]
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Maryland Farmers Look for Guidelines On Hemp
DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — The meeting room was packed on Jan. 15 for the Maryland Hemp Exchange Roundtable. Hosted by the Maryland Farm Bureau, the roundtable included speakers Jim Drews, operations manager with the Office of Plant Industries & Pest Management of the Maryland Department of Agriculture; Dan Galluzzo and Eryck Stamper from the Maryland Hemp Exchange; and Kevin Atticks, founder & CEO of Grow & Fortify. Attendees came hoping for guidelines on Maryland’s hemp production plans and regulations. Fred Coulbourn, who owns 38 acres in Caroline County, hopes to get in on the production ground floor. “There’ll be an abundance of growers once hemp catches on,” Coulbourn said. “They’ve got to take it past the growing to processors and markets.” Like most of the attendees, Coulbourn wanted to know how Maryland intends to regulate the hemp growers and where he’ll be able to sell his product after harvest. Maryland has not yet submitted a plan to the USDA for overseeing the [...]
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Answers to farmers’ top 5 hemp farming questions
Colorado farmer James Bennett has a warning for farmers interested in growing industrial hemp. It’s hard to grow, labor intensive, and the genetics are unstable because it hasn’t been grown commercially in the U.S. for long, he explains. Bennett has been growing industrial hemp since 2014. Last year he raised 1,000 acres of industrial hemp across seven states. With several growing seasons under his belt and experience as a seedsman, his goal is to compress the learning curve for farmers who want to follow in his footsteps. “This is not a crop that we can drive across a scale and leave with a check,” he says. Bennett calls the commodity crops grown across the Midwest – corn, soybeans, wheat – comfort crops. They’ve been grown for years and are backed by well-established supply chains. “Hemp is a whole different ball of wax. This is kind of like crawling on the back of a wild mustang thinking you’re going to just go riding off into the sunset. It ain’t going to happen [...]
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Cecil farmers learn about industrial hemp vs CBD
Cecil County’s farm community got a crash course in the burgeoning hemp industry at Winter Agronomy Day hosted by the University of Maryland and Cecil County Extension offices. One of the messages that Nicole Fiorellino, assistant professor and extension specialist at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, especially wanted to press home is that no one is going to get rich growing hemp, whether for CBD or for industrial use, at least in the current economy. “It’s a brand new crop but it’s been around for years,” Fiorellino told the audience. She and Andrew Ristvey, commercial horticulture specialist with the college, are doing research in conjunction with participating farmers to identify all the variables and determine if this could be a viable cash crop. “Our work is solely for the plants with less than 3% THC,” Fiorellino said, THC or tetrahydracannabinol, is the ingredient in the plant that creates the high. Their research looks into [...]
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Here’s why states are keeping their pilot hemp programs through 2020
Federal plan too late Because the USDA didn’t publish the interim final rule until Oct. 31, 2019, during harvest season, state officials said they didn’t feel they would be able to pull together plans that would meet federal requirements in time to implement the rules for 2020. This feat would have been especially difficult considering that the USDA included rules state officials opposed, according to Whitney Place, Minnesota’s deputy agriculture commissioner. “It became really clear that there’s no way we’d be able to stand up a program that would meet the current interim final rule this year,” Place said. Rewriting state hemp production rules was already a lengthy process before the USDA dropped federal regulations, as officials in Arkansas found out when they started reviewing its program in March. “It’s taken nine months just to get the first rule rewrite done,” said Mike Stage, Arkansas’ agriculture division manager who oversees the state’s hemp program. [...]
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Arizona climate blamed for ‘off the charts’ THC failure in first hemp crops
Arizona producers might have geography to blame for joining hemp farmers across the country who have had to destroy their 2019 crops after the plants tested positive for elevated levels of THC. About 41% of the state’s hemp plants tested above the 0.3% legal THC limit, according to the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Plant Services Division, which oversees the program. Growers in other states have had issues managing the THC content of hemp plants, with crops from Hawaii to Nebraska also testing too high. “At 40%, that’s off the charts,” Sully Sullivan, executive director of the Hemp Industry Trade Association of Arizona, said of the state’s THC findings. “I’m taken aback by that. That’s substantial.” The state’s agriculture department tested hemp plants for THC levels before harvesting started in late 2019. [...]
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How Industrial Hemp May Fit Into Farmers’ Rotations as a Cash Crop and a Cover Crop
https://youtu.be/2uB5RxlxD80 Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania has been conducting industrial hemp trials to gather research on the crop’s unique abilities. To reduce tillage, the Rodale team also looked to hemp’s massive root complex as a guard against weeds and a natural soil preparation for the rotation. In fact, as the years have gone on, the agronomic impacts of including hemp in a crop rotation seemed to compound. Not only were weeds being reduced when hemp was being grown, but Caton says that she found a continued effect; the reduction of weeds went on into the next growing seasons. “I really am proud of the work that we are doing because we're not just looking for a quick fix,” she says. “We've never thought that way. We're looking for long-term plans. And so that's why we thought that it was essential just to work on incorporating this into farm plans and crop rotations. … The reason we wanted to design [the industrial hemp trials] in this way is because they wer [...]
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Tuesday at the Farm Show
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Fred Strathmeyer discussed Pennsylvania’s hot new hemp industry, and how it will be featured more prominently. The hemp display will include a house with structural and design elements made of hemp, a car with interior components made of hemp, and other products highlighting the emerging opportunities in hemp fiber. The display focuses on fiber, industrial and hemp seed oil uses for the hemp plant, not CBD. Elements of the car including parts of the battery, body insulation and upholstery, and even the running board are all made of hemp and hemp bio-plastics. Structural elements of the house, paint and interior features are made of hemp. There are clothing items, foods, and all kinds of products made from seed oil in the exhibit. We’re highlighting the opportunities for growers and processors in the hot new PA industry. [...]
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German engineer rolls out hemp harvester for small, mid-size farms
After four years in development, German entrepreneur Heinrich Wieker is now taking orders for a harvester designed specifically for outdoor hemp fields producing flowers for CBD, food and other niche products. Designed with small and medium-sized farms in mind, Henry’s Hemp Harvester (HHHarvester) gently strips the plant’s flowers and severs the stems in one pass, employing a patented stripping mechanism. The flowers can be collected in a bag or container, while the hemp stalks are left in the field for retting. Depending on plant maturity at the time of harvesting, it’s also possible to shake out the seeds, completing a triple yield, Wieker said. [...]
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Seneca Nation entering the industrial hemp industry
The Seneca Nation has been vigorously working on a Hemp Production Plan to enter this new industry. It comes as the next step in an overall effort to revive agriculture on Seneca lands. Jessica Crouse helped the Senecas create its first Agriculture Department last year, which has been raising produce on a 50-plus-acre farm in Collins and grass-fed bison on a 100-acre field in Machias. Products from those ventures are available at Seneca One Stop shops. Now as Hemp Compliance Administrator, Crouse is leading the development of the Seneca's newest crop. "Right now it's going to be open for our people to apply and try their hand at it. Whether that means they're putting it in the ground or they're growing it indoors, we'll definitely help facilitate that and we'll see where it goes," she said. Crouse said, after talking with different producers and universities growing hemp, she expects many obstacles, including finding out what works in the different soils of the Cattaraugus and Allegany [...]
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The number of US acres devoted to hemp is 100 times greater than five years ago
In 2014, a new farm bill opened up industrial hemp cultivation to state-controlled pilot programs. The following year,1,500 acres of hemp were planted in the US. Today, nearly 100 times that many acres of US farmland are covered in the stuff—146,000, according to new data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Last year, hemp was planted in 18 states. Today that number has more than doubled, with 37 states planting industrial hemp, for a 350% increase over the acreage planted as of December 2018. And more of those states are going big on hemp. In 2018, just five states had over 1,000 acres of hemp planted, compared with 21 states today. [...]
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10 Pesticides Approved for Use on Industrial Hemp
With the 2020 growing season on the horizon, the EPA announced on Thursday the approval of 10 pesticides for use on industrial hemp, the first such products cleared for hemp. The 2018 farm bill legalized cultivation of the crop and the USDA released guidelines in October that opened the gate for farmers across the nation to grow it. Nine bio-pesticides and one conventional pesticide were approved by EPA. Most of them control insects, bacteria, fungi or nematodes. The EPA said it would process additional applications for approval as they are filed. “Hemp presents an exciting new agricultural commodity, and the EPA’s action will help provide farmers with the tools they need to seize this opportunity,” said the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. [...]
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How Seeded and Seedless Hemp Crops Vary for Different End Uses
As both drug cannabis and hemp cultivation proliferate, agronomic challenges lurk on the horizon. In Europe and North America, hemp fiber crops have traditionally been harvested upon reaching technical maturity when the male plants begin to shed pollen. In eastern Asia, hemp fiber crops destined for fine textile production are harvested before they flower, and therefore no pollen or seed is produced. No flowers, no pollen and no problems. The timing of a fiber crop harvest—either before or after it releases pollen—determines whether it poses a threat to neighboring sinsemilla cannabis growers. Depending on cropping techniques, fiber hemp production can be compatible anywhere. The real issue is not about hemp fiber production but seedless drug cultivation. However, the situation differs with hemp seed crops. Hemp seed crops are grown specifically for seeds sold primarily to the food and body-care industries. Hemp seed and seed oil are more in demand than at any other time in recent [...]
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Hemp Production eGuide » Types of Hemp Fibre
Hemp stalks contain two main types of fibre: bast or long fibres found in the bark (skin) and hurd (shive) or short fibres located in the core of the stem. Very good Hemp Fiber Guide [...]
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Should Farm Animals Be Eating Hemp?
Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp in the United States, there has been rising interest in hemp-derived products, including those that can be consumed. Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration are racing to roll out regulations for these products that human consumers increasingly demand. But hemp in feed for cows and chickens on the farm? That’s a different story. Because humans sometimes eat the food that comes from livestock, hemp-based animal feed will require a greenlight from federal regulators. Still, there is significant interest from those in the hemp industry who argue that hemp as an addition to animal feed is a no brainer: It’s easy to grow, an effective cover crop, and high in nutrients. “Why wouldn’t I use that?” Ethan Vorhes, an Iowa cattle farmer and director of the Iowa Hemp Association, said that when he first learned about the plant’s many uses, “I fell like a fish—hook, line, and sinker.” His family had grown hemp during World W [...]
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Enhanced tolerance of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) plants on abandoned mine land soil leads to overexpression of cannabinoids
A MUST READ STUDY OF SOIL REMEDIATION: Industrial activities have a detrimental impact on the environment and health when high concentrations of pollutants are released. Phytoremediation is a natural method of utilizing plants to remove contaminants from the soil. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential of industrial hemp as an eco-friendly way to remediate abandoned mine land soils in Pennsylvania. To do that, physiological parameters such as seed germination, plant height, and days-to-flowering were examined. In addition, uptake of heavy metals such as Arsenic, Lead, Nickel, Mercury, and Cadmium, changes in soil pH, and total cannabinoid content were examined in six different varieties of industrial hemp (Fedora 17, Felina 32, Ferimon, Futura 75, Santhica 27, and USO 31) grown on two contaminated soil types and two commercial soil types both outdoors and in the greenhouse. Additionally, this study presents a detailed review on the possible mechanisms of metal uptake. [...]
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Farm’s Vision Focused on Hemp
“I’m a big believer in hemp,” said Miller. “This is a product that can be used for so many things. People are now recognizing the benefits of CBD oil for many things from arthritis to seizures. There is so much more though. Fiber can be used for clothing, rope, building materials, paper and even food.” Miller hopes that hemp products will be central to the rural resort she has planned for the farm’s future and envisions luxury tents made of hemp fiber, hemp mats for yoga, and hemp robes. “I plan for this to become a luxury retreat; a place for people to come out to the country and get in touch with the land. There is nothing more fitting than having them use products made of a sustainable material like hemp and having them be surrounded by the very crop that goes into it,” she said. The first year has been a learning experience for Miller and her farm staff as hemp is a very labor intensive crop. The initial planting of 14,000 seeds per acre had some bare spots so ar [...]
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