The Department Of Agriculture Has Approved 16 Research Projects, Each Of Which Can Grow Five Acres Of Hemp.

Hemp, historically used to make rope, is prized for its oils, seeds and fiber. In 2014, President Barack Obama signed a farm bill that allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to begin cultivating industrial hemp for limited purposes. Since then, about 30 states have passed legislation to establish hemp research or pilot programs, authorize studies of the hemp industry or establish commercial hemp programs. Pennsylvania currently allows universities, the state Department of Agriculture or the state to research hemp under an industrial pilot program. The Department of Agriculture has approved 16 research projects, each of which can grow five acres of hemp. None can be sold. At least 16 other states have legalized industrial help production for commercial purposes within the scope of federal law. This year, farmers in Kentucky will be able to grow and potential sell more than 12,000 acres of industrial hemp valued at $21,000 per acre. Farmers here Green Rush in Pennsylvania argue that the state is moving too slowly, restricting hemp growth to the research projects and preventing growers from profiting on the open market. State Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, said she hopes the state will take action to drop the barriers and allow farmers to grow hemp commercially.

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