Exploring how industrial hemp can benefit the commonwealth

U.S. retail sales of hemp-based products could exceed $300 million annually, according to industry reports.

Starting in the 2016 growing season, Virginia Tech will begin conducting research on a crop that was part of the very fabric of the Jamestown settlement and may once again become a part of the commonwealth’s agricultural portfolio: hemp.

Following a 2015 state law that allows institutions of higher education to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, the university began researching the manner in which the crop can be grown and assessing the economic impact it could have on the commonwealth.

“This is a great opportunity for the university to help farmers develop a new crop that can increase their revenues even further,” said Saied Mostaghimi, director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This is also a great example of how our researchers work in conjunction with Virginia Cooperative Extension to the benefit of the state.”

As it does with any new crops, the university will test growing conditions at various locations around the state to determine the best ways to plant, fertilize, and harvest hemp. For the first year, all planting will be done on university-owned or -managed land.
Once the critical agronomic factors are determined, the information the scientists glean will be shared with growers through Virginia Cooperative Extension.

At the same time, research will be conducted on potential uses for hemp, which could range from food supplements to biofuels. The crop’s economic impact on the state will also be assessed.

U.S. retail sales of hemp-based products could exceed $300 million annually, according to industry reports.

Most of the 55,700 metric tons of hemp produced around the world comes from China, Russia, and South Korea, so this program provides an opportunity for Virginia to enter a global market.

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2 Responses to Exploring how industrial hemp can benefit the commonwealth

  1. Pingback: Exploring how industrial hemp can benefit the commonwealth | Virginia Cooperative Extension News

  2. Linda Miralles says:

    Hi!
    I have recently bought 2 separate 5 acre lots in Virginia. I’m currently in the Veterans to Farmers program in Denver, CO. Upon completion of this training program, my goal is to clear a portion of our land to build an aquaponic greenhouse.

    While in Colorado, I also had the opportunity to partake in a Hempcrete workshop. Using a pre-framed 8×10 shed, we finished construction of the building with a hemp, lime and cement mix.

    I would love to be able to host this workshop on my property. Two of the required items I need are easily obtained at any Home Depot.

    I will also need to locally source processed hemp. And lots of it, at least 100 pounds. The hemp we used in the seminar had been grown on site. Processing consisted of running entire dried hemp plants through a wood chipper multiple times. That’s it.

    So, can you help me? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Linda Miralles – aka – Farmer Louie

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