Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture approves 16 hemp R&D projects

March 23, 2017 |

In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has approved 16 research proposals that seek to demonstrate the value and viability of industrial hemp cultivation in the state. The projects were approved under the new Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, which the department launched in December after Governor Tom Wolf and the General Assembly enacted Act 92 of 2016.

Most projects intend to build on existing knowledge of how to optimize industrial hemp production in Pennsylvania, including a better understanding of what varieties will grow well in the state and what farming practices are best for industrial hemp growth. Several explore novel characteristics of hemp growth, evaluating its potential as a cover crop to inhibit weed growth and its potential to remediate contaminated soils by absorbing contaminants, along with water and nutrition. Many of the projects include research on potential uses of the harvested stalks and seeds for animal bedding, feed, human food products, or manufactured goods.

In Mifflin County, Justben Agriculture, LLC, will compare five varieties for end use for human consumption and biofuel; stalk material will be pelletized for fuel or used for animal bedding.

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