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David Sparks Ph.d Hemp Popularity
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: September 11, 2019

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Farmers showing a significant interest in growing hemp. I cannot tell you how many of my friends swear by the benefits of CBD oil. Supposedly it ameliorates pain in aching joints, helps to calm people down without getting them high and helps with sleep. No pun intended but there's a big buzz about hemp. Earlier this year, USDA held a three hour long listening session to give the public a chance to provide input on the red hot issue of hemp.

"I think the best way to describe our hemp program for the last year and a half is enthusiastic and energetic." That was Sarah Walling, who represented the state of Wisconsin. "Our 2019 application period brought in 1461 grower applications and 711 processor applications. We anticipate most of those growers will be small acreages in the 1 to 5 acreages range."

Another state where hemp has been and is promising to again be a big deal is Kentucky. Here's Kentucky AG Commissioner Ryan Quarles. "When you look at the beginning of 2019, we have expanded to over 1000 licensed growers to cultivate up to potential 50,000 acres this year. For context, last year we approved 12,000 acres. About half of that was planted."

Economic data for 2017 showed us that hemp has economic potential. We don't know if it can replace tobacco, but we know that it's coming part of our greater agricultural portfolio.

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