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Experts: Industrial Hemp Could Be the Next Big Crop in Indiana

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Much of Indiana’s agricultural community say that industrial hemp could be a rather important cash crop for the state. The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources met last month and discussed the potential for hemp in the state. While most associate industrial hemp with CBD, it has many other uses from fiber to building materials.

Indiana law allows hemp end products to be sold in the state, but still doesn’t allow for in-state cultivation and manufacturing, according to The Exponent. Some research involving hemp can be conducted in Indiana, but there are several hoops to jump through to get approved. Only “institutions of higher education” and the State Department of Agriculture are permitted to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.

Ronald Turco, who heads the agronomy department at Purdue University, said, “Industrial hemp is the ‘next small grain’ but it can also be used as a source of oil, fiber and feed and the flower can be used to produce CBD. Indiana is missing out on a novel farm-level income stream.”

The DEA still seems to think that industrial hemp is going to have some kind of impact on the illegal marijuana market. The DEA oversees every aspect of Indiana’s industrial hemp research efforts. An inspection must take place that is conducted by the DEA. The researcher listed on the application is also responsible for paying for their own background check and proof of appropriate license is also required.

Trevor Hardwick, who attends the College of Agriculture, said, “Most farms have been around for generations, and pass the pitchfork down their family tree. This plant, on its own, is profitable enough to allow an individual to (successfully start) a small farm from scratch — as long as he or she can be a successful farmer.”

There is wide support for a better industrial hemp program in Indiana. Following the August meeting, industry experts are hoping that the state will move forward with legalizing cultivation, harvesting and manufacturing in the state.