S1084: Industrial Hemp Production, Processing, and Marketing in the U.S.
(Multistate Research Project)
S1084: Industrial Hemp Production, Processing, and Marketing in the U.S.
Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023
Statement of Issues and Justification
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) was at one time a major agronomic crop in the U.S. An excellent history of the scope and legality of industrial hemp production can be found in the UK extension publication Economic Considerations for Growing Industrial Hemp: Implications for Kentucky’s Farmers and Agricultural Economy (https://www.uky.edu/Ag/AgEcon/pubs/reshempimpfarmer28.pdf). Since that publication was released in 2013, Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill has provided for pilot research projects in states where supporting legislation has been established.
Hemp is broadly adapted, having essentially a global distribution (Johnson, 1999), but historically production has been concentrated in more northern temperate regions of the globe. The plant grows best at temperatures between about 60 and 80°F, but its tolerance to quite low temperatures makes it suitable to plant before corn (Ehrensing, 1998). This tolerance to low temperatures allows early plantings to reach a closed canopy early in the season, supporting rapid growth and minimizing weed competition. Hemp is sensitive to day length, setting seeds as day length shortens in the fall (USDA, 2000).
Industrial hemp is produced for one or both of two, main harvestable components: 1) Stalks, 2) Seed/grain.
The stalk is largely used for fiber, although the core or hurd of the stalk also has commercial uses including bedding, insulation and building materials. Fiber from the plant can be utilized in numerous ways ranging from yarn and fabric to electrical super-capacitors manufactured from carbon nanosheets. Hemp hurds and fibers also can be used as an alternative to wood in construction materials (chip board and particle board), for batts or blown-in insulation, as insulative fill in lightweight concrete applications (hempcrete), and for structural reinforcement in molded plastic composites (replacing synthetic fibers). Today, applications using hemp fibers are different and much broader than when industrial hemp was last grown extensively in the U.S. in the 1940s. Although the historic uses for hemp (e.g., in rope and canvas for ship sails) have declined, new opportunities for the crop are growing with the realization that hemp fibers possess several very positive attributes that make them useful in modern industrial applications.
The seed is sold as hemp grain and also has several valuable markets. Hemp grain is relatively high in oil content; generally containing 30% or more by weight. This oil is very healthful as a dietary constituent or supplement for humans. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has a very favorable omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of about 3:1. This is much higher than that found in many other oil seeds. The grain is also high in protein and contains all 20 amino acids (Russo and Reggiani 2015).
Hemp grain processors in Canada produce a wide array of consumer products including toasted hemp seed, hemp seed oil, hemp flour, and even hemp coffee. The same is occurring in the U.S in states with pilot research programs (e.g., Kentucky, Vermont). It is also used as bird feed and livestock feed, either whole or in part (as a high protein hemp seed meal and hulls), much the same as soybean meal and hulls are used today. Hemp grain is an important commodity crop in Europe, where approximately 80% of the grain is used as animal feed. It is not uncommon for producers to harvest hemp grain with conventional grain combines and subsequently harvest the remaining stems for fiber. This is the most common example of a dual-purpose industrial hemp crop.
Despite existing utilizations of industrial hemp for fiber and oil products, hemp-based biofuels and bioproducts represent a new potential application area. As a versatile biomass feedstock, industrial hemp is well suited for developing coproduction strategies under a biorefinery concept for fuels and high-value products. However, the technical and economic feasibility of using industrial hemp as a bioenergy crop remains unclear (Johnson, 2017). In order to maximize profit from industrial hemp, different production, harvesting, processing, and product scenarios must be explored. There are trade-offs between fuels, materials and essential oils, and other applications from hemp; achieving all potential product streams simultaneously from hemp plants is unlikely. Therefore, an optimized feedstock processing strategy should be determined that would improve the economics of hemp-based fuels and bioproducts.
While many unknowns are surrounding the economics of hemp, two definitive statements can be made about the evolving hemp industry. First, hemp can be used as an input for thousands of products. Second, sales of hemp products in the United States and worldwide currently represent a relatively small market share of overall food, textile, personal care products, and sales from other sectors, but have been growing at a relatively brisk pace in recent years. According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), they expect hemp sales to pass $1.8 billion by 2020.
The current policy and commodity environment have created much enthusiasm for the production of hemp. On April 16, 2018, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced, and it would remove hemp from the schedule 1 narcotic list (McConnell et al., 2018). Passage of this act would remove some of the uncertainties surrounding this crop. Beyond the policy uncertainty, one of the key hurdles hemp will have to overcome is that it will have to provide expected returns that are equivalent to or exceeds expected returns for competing crops. The expected returns above variable costs (RAVC) attached (Table 1) represent what producers expect under current market conditions and yield expectations.
For both of grain and fiber crops, conventional production practices (i.e., tillage is utilized to form the seedbed) are followed. There is the potential to utilize a no-till production system. It should also be noted that there are no herbicide, insecticide, or fungicide costs included because they are currently not labeled for use in hemp crops and are not allowable. This is an additional production risk for potential producers to manage. All input costs utilized in these budgets are derived from budgets produced at the University of Kentucky or from the custom harvest survey (Halich 2018a and Halich 2018b). Hemp grain and fiber prices are representative of 2018 pricing in the Kentucky market. Yields for industrial hemp vary widely for some different reasons.
Two key crops that hemp will be competing with are corn and soybeans. In the figure attached (Figure 1.) is the cumulative density function of the RAVC for hemp fiber and grain compared to corn and soybeans for Kentucky. Currently, hemp fiber is not competitive with corn and soybeans. However, the simulation utilized to develop this graph assumes a corn price of $4.00 and $10.00 soybeans. Current market conditions for these crops are below these levels and are expected to remain below these levels over the next several years. Furthermore, it is expected that hemp yields will continue to increase and with the legalization of hemp, chemical companies will begin to label chemicals for hemp production. Both of these factors will result in hemp being more competitive with alternative grain crops.
Additional barriers to entry that need to be addressed are risk management, operating capital, contract development, proper storage, and access to certified seed. Currently, minimal risk management strategies exist for producers to utilize compared to the access to crop insurance, farm programs, and futures markets that potential producers are using. A second barrier is access to operating capital through traditional credit markets. Lending institutions have yet to begin loaning money for the production of industrial hemp. Third, most of the hemp being produced is done on a contract basis. These contracts are not standardized and vary widely by the processor. One key issue with these contracts is that many of them do not pay out to the producer until the processor has sold its final product or it is paid out on a graduated schedule. This is not what producers are used to, and it puts additional stress on their cash flow. Forth, hemp grain and fiber need to be stored until it is time for them to be used. Proper storage is especially important for grain because it will be going into the food system and improper storage can lead to off flavors. Lastly, access to certified seed is still a problem for producers. However, over the next several years this should not be as big of an issue as more certified seed is produced. These are several of the most pressing barriers to entry currently, but as more hemp production takes place, then additional barriers will surface.
Due to the gap in U.S.-based trials and other research of nearly 80 years, a multistate activity that coordinates and pools resources will provide maximum impact for the greatest number of stakeholders. This re-emerging industry has seen much stakeholder interest and some private investment, but does not yet enjoy broader financial support by grower organizations or federal competitive granting programs. As with other regional crop projects, a multistate approach allows for evaluation of varieties, management practices, and costs across a wider range of soils and microclimates than would be possible by a single state’s program.
Related, Current and Previous Work
Although hemp can grow across a range of edaphic and climatic conditions, cultivation typically is best where soils are loamy, well drained, high in organic matter and non-acidic (Johnson, 1999; USDA, 2000). Development of the hemp industry in Kentucky is attributed to the high fertility and good soil conditions for the crop (Dewey, 1913). Soil pH is optimum in the 5.8 to 6.0 range (Bócsa and Karus, 1998).
Soil moisture is an important determinant of hemp production. Moisture during establishment is essential, although the plant is tolerant of drought after it is well-rooted (Dewey, 1913; Ehrensing, 1998). Optimum yields will require 20-28 inches of available moisture, particularly during the vegetative growth phase in June and July (Bócsa and Karus, 1998; Ehrensing, 1998). However, too much available moisture can limit production or cause failure, particularly in low lying and poorly drained fields (Ehrensing, 1998).
Dioecious hemp crops produced for fiber typically are harvested when the male plants have finished flowering. In the northern hemisphere this is typically in late July/early August at southern latitudes and in late August/early September further north (Ehrensing, 1998). Crops grown for seed oil production or as bioenergy feedstocks will need to be harvested once seeds are mature or when the biomass is best suited for the energy conversion process.
Stalks - Conventional hemp fiber production systems rely on field drying and straw retting – a process by which microbes degrade the pectin layer between the plant’s bast fibers and woody core. Sufficient moisture assures the microbial degradation processes occur, but dry weather also is required to ensure the hemp stalks can be baled, and weather conditions can affect fiber quality (USDA, 2000). As an alternative, hemp may be processed by water retting in which the plant is submersed in water for a period of time. Water retting creates fibers of greater uniformity and quality, but such systems are expensive, laborious, require greater skilled labor, and have higher environmental impact (USDA, 2000).
In light of the weather risks and costs associated with these forms of retting, newer systems based on chopping and anaerobic storage have proved suitable and a pilot facility has been built in Europe which can process hemp stalk components into insulation, boards, and granules for injection molding (Pecenka et al., 2009). Harvest systems have been identified as a bottleneck in hemp-for-fiber production systems (Venturi and Bentini, 2001) and this represents an important source of cost for industries such as pulp mills (González-García et al., 2010). Older harvest systems used equipment designed to keep hemp stems aligned in parallel and maximize the recovery of long fibers, but such systems are slow (Ehrensing, 1998). Traditional hay making equipment can also be used for hemp fiber harvest; this speeds the harvest process but prevents the processing of long fibers with traditional separation machinery (Ehrensing, 1998). While this provides advantages to farmers by allowing them to use commonly available harvest equipment, these systems are also challenged by the need to handle bales at several points during the collection and gathering process. Specialized harvesters and collection systems developed for cotton production may have better application for collecting hemp fibers as the plants are chopped and thus less tangled during harvest. Such systems also require less handling through the collection and process stages. Ultimately, however, the optimum harvest system must be assessed on the value of the fibers produced as they are limited to the short fiber market.
Prior to processing, the hemp fibers must be decorticated, and typically this happens following field collection. To eliminate this step, research has been conducted on improved harvesters that can separate dry fibers from stalks in the field (Gratton and Chen, 2004), and reports from Europe (e.g., Munder et al., 2004) suggest that this may be possible without the need for retting. Such systems rely on field chopping and wet material storage (ensiling) (Pecenka et al., 2009). The systems have promise given their potential for reduced in-field biomass loss, in-field particle size reduction, and reduced weather-related harvest risks (Idler et al., 2011; Pecenka et al., 2009), although haulage costs will be increased by the additional water weight and the process is not well suited for producing dry process composite boards (Ehrensing, 1998). These harvest systems may return sufficient value through the production chain to warrant their added equipment and haulage costs but further study is needed to determine the most cost effective supply and processing strategies.
Seed/grain - Harvesting industrial hemp grain by combine is the norm in other countries and was accomplished successfully in the U.S. in 2014 and 2015. Variety selection is key as the growth habits of those varieties bred primarily for grain production are more conducive to harvest by combine. Grain from varieties bred primarily for fiber production could be very difficult or perhaps impossible to harvest efficiently by combine.
Biofuels and bioproducts- Previous literature has investigated ethanol production from industrial hemp using a combined dilute acid/stream pretreatment technique (Kuglarz et al., 2014). Results show that pretreatment with 1% sulfuric acid at 180 °C for 10 min led to the highest glucose yield (73–74%) and ethanol yield of 75–79% (0.38–0.40 g-ethanol/g-glucose). In a follow-up study, an ethanol yield of 149 kg of ethanol/dry ton hemp was reported using alkaline oxidative pretreatment (Kuglarz et al., 2016). In another study, hemp hurd was fractionated by organosolv pretreatment for lignin degradation and sugar formation. More than 75% of total cellulose and 75% total lignin was removed under the following experimental conditions: 165 °C, 3% H2SO4, 20 min reaction time, and 45% methanol (Gandolfi et al., 2014). Furthermore, due to its capacity to grow on heavy metal contaminated soil, industrial hemp has shown potential in bioremediation of heavy metals in addition to biofuel production (Kyzas et al., 2015). A recent study from our group evaluated the potential of industrial hemp as a biofuel crop in comparison with kenaf, switchgrass and biomass sorghum using a combined agronomic, experimental and economic analysis approach (Das et al., 2017). Results showed that industrial hemp could generate higher per hectare gross profit than the other crops if both hemp grains and biofuels from hemp stem were considered.
Clearly there is great interest in industrial hemp in the agricultural community given its multiple uses for value added products in existing and potential future industries. Some perspective also must be given to counterbalance the idea that hemp will be a miracle crop to save the earth and rural economies. Legalizing hemp production certainly would provide the agricultural sector with new opportunities, but developing a profitable industry with suitable markets will take time and an ability to capture value-added income. Small and Marcus (2002) note that industries using new agricultural crops often require 10 to 15 years to reach maturity – and as yet no such industry has been allowed to develop in the U.S.
Beyond simple legalization and allowing new start-ups, an industrial hemp industry in the U.S. will need serious crop testing. Efforts to better understand yield potentials, production costs, best harvesting methods, handling, storage, and processing – and to determine the ability to compete within existing and new markets – are needed to understand hemp’s viability as a commodity crop. Although the USDA’s assessment (2000) downplayed hemp’s potential, Small and Marcus (2002) note that there is (and can be) little in the way of objective analysis of hemp’s merits in the current climate and that despite current policy, industrial hemp product development and market use continues to grow.
Given the lack of recent hemp production experience in the U.S., it is informative to look at the hemp market development in other countries. For example, the land devoted to hemp seed production in Canada varied greatly during the early years of its introduction. At first, farmers may not have known the crop’s suitability for their farming operation, and then, after substantial increase in acreage, the collapse of a commercial buyer left many farmers holding unsalable seed and fiber (Small and Marcus, 2002). In addition, boom-season production and the resultant drop in prices created unprofitable conditions for many growers. This may have been avoidable had the growers had a strong marketing board to bridle the early competitive forces and market instabilities, as well as to dampen the large price fluctuations. Without a similar mechanism in the U.S., similar overproduction risks are likely given the large amount of propaganda surrounding the crop (Small and Marcus, 2002).
The Need for University Research: While it is clear that industrial hemp offers much promise for agricultural production systems in the U.S., understanding the plant in terms of both its adaptation to, and management in different regions of the country will be important first steps for helping an industry to grow. In addition, the degree to which hemp markets can develop remains undetermined in the face of uncertain cost structures, and competitiveness of hemp products as challenger crops relative to existing grain and fiber markets.
Agronomic practices -Determine effects on grain, fiber, or dual-purpose productivity as functions of
Comments: * Cultivars - including suitability to growing conditions/regions. This entails evaluating and developing adapted, improved, monoecious cultivars for grain, fiber, dual purpose (grain + fiber), and essential oil production systems across the USA. * Soil types Suitability/adaptability to varied soil types, including disturbed and marginal soils * Establishment practices Conventional tillage vs. no-till establishment Planting date × variety interactions Planting rates (and depths) appropriate for fiber and seed crops Row spacing * Fertilization practices Application rates Application timing (especially relative to different production outcomes (grain, fiber, dual purpose (grain + fiber), and essential oil production systems) * Canopy management Utility/timing of topping during growing season to induce multiple tillering * Water use and demand Irrigation × variety interactions Evapotranspiration and water demand Timing availability effects * Insect, pathogens, and other pest management. Pest and pathogen sensitivity Efficacy of seed fungicide and insecticide treatments Effects of late-season fungicide applications on grain yield and quality Economic thresholds for insect and other pest control * Weed management Pre/post emergence herbicides for weed control Herbicide sensitivities * Harvest and handling practices Evaluate efficacy of field desiccation (e.g., using diquat or glyphosate) for grain crops Develop best practice protocols for retting both in fiber and dual purpose hemp systems Determine engineering needs for harvest, handling and processing * Suitability for crop rotations Evaluate potential for use in rotations or mixtures with other crop Measure hemp performance and weed/insect/disease incidence following corn, cotton, soybean, tobacco, forage/pasture/range/fallow Determine hemp’s effects on disease/pest cycles of other crops
Crop quality - Assay plant material from above for corresponding fiber, grain and cannabinoid traits
Comments: * Stem and stem fiber properties characterized on the macro, micro, and micron scale * Grain quality, including oil and protein levels and fatty acid and amino acid profiles * Other potential uses (e.g., as a biofuel feedstock, as chemical adsorbents or as fresh/ensiled forage crops for livestock) * NIRS equation development for rapid quality assessment
Genetics- Identify genes for advanced traits of interest including
Comments: * Photoperiodicity * Yield components - fibers, hurd, oil, protein, etc. * Pest and pathogen resistance * Abiotic stress (drought, cold, heat) resistance * Relatedness of existing hemp varieties and genetic diversity
Economics - Assess crop value when grown for different uses and in different cropping systems
Comments: * Production budgets refined for specific end uses and production schemes (e.g., for biofuel feedstock, as part of crop rotation, as grain/fiber duel use vs. single use) •Market scale/potential
- Variety trials (Multiple PIs)
Variety trials to assess fiber, grain, and essential oil production and quality will be conducted by members of the multi-state project team. Typically, multiple cultivars with broad diversity of origin (e.g., Canada, northern and southern Europe, etc.) will be evaluated under diverse climatic and edaphic conditions; e.g., research in Virginia will be conducted in Ridge/Valley and Northern and Southern Piedmont physiographic regions.
Experimental design typically will be a randomized complete block with three or four replications on defined soil types of known use / cropping history. This will be essential to minimize soil type and history as sources of variation. Plot sizes will vary by site according to the available equipment used in other research evaluations.
Soil samples will be taken before planting and subjected to routine analysis (pH, CEC, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Al, Cu, and Zn) among other measures (e.g., texture, organic matter). Fertilization practices will be similar, following industry standards (typically 67 and 222 kg N ha-1) for grain and fiber production, with P and K maintained in the “high” range of standard soil tests.
Seeding rates will be based on industry standard practice (typically 22 and 66 kg ha-1 for grain and fiber respectively). However, rates may be adjusted based on the results of germination tests so that all varieties are planted at similar rates of viable seed per acre. Row spacing may be adjusted according to the end product (wide spacing for grain, narrow spacing for fiber).
Fiber will be harvested in the flowering stage. Grain will be harvested at physiological maturity and when seed moisture content is between 10%-18% and standard drying and storage protocols will be followed. Crop harvest will be conducted with standard plot harvest equipment unless unsuited or unavailable, in which case plots will be harvested by hand. Post-harvest, measures of grain, aboveground biomass, and fiber yield among other metrics of interest will be collected. Grain quality will be evaluated based on oil content and fatty acid composition. For fiber assays retting may occur in field, but our team will work to deploy a standardized lab assay for this process to reduce lab-to-lab variation in this assessment.
Along with agronomic yield and crop quality measures, additional measures may include plant and stand attributes such as height, days to maturity, and plant population at stand establishment and at harvest. Environmental conditions and growing degree days also will be recorded. As well, research sites will submit hemp samples to our appropriate state authorities for THC analysis. This testing will occur according to state law, or according to policies put in place by the relevant state agency.
Similar experiments looking at varieties and their response to soil conditions and growing environments will be conducted in greenhouses and other controlled settings under artificial lights when needed and using appropriate soil media.
The need to reconcile approaches to measuring production quality while contending with very different local (state) regulatory environments may produce some challenges for reaching consensus on methodology. It is likely, however, that this can be offset by utilizing varieties or “least common denominator” approaches to methodologies across sites.
II. Management trials
Efforts at establishment, harvest management, crop productivity and quality metrics for the following management trials will follow those described in the previous section on varietal assessment
Irrigation x variety interactions (McKay)
Understanding hemp production in an environment with limited water will be important for Colorado growers. To identify varieties that perform best under irrigation and to assess the impact of the environment (e.g., climate) and management practices on biomass and seeds yields, an existing hemp crop model (Amaducci et al. 2012) was used in conjunction with phenology and climate data from Colorado’s 2015 trials to determine a range of ideal phenologies for Colorado production. These criteria, in turn, were used to select a set of existing European cultivars that are expected to perform best in Colorado. Several varieties (15 at present) have been selected based on phenology and yield (both biomass and grain) for this research and field comparisons will be conducted at Colorado agricultural research centers.
Response to limited irrigation will be evaluated with a single variety. Crop performance will be evaluated under three irrigation regimes:
- Full irrigation to meet crop evapotranspiration (ET) based on the crop model from our European collaborator (Amaducci et al. 2012);
- Irrigation to meet 70% of ET. The exact percentage will be determined after consultation with Dr. Allan Andales.
- No supplemental irrigation
Water will be applied using a drip irrigation system. Individual plot size will be ~2 m X 18 m with three or four replications per treatment. The treatments will be assigned based on a randomized split-plot design with three replications. Irrigation amounts (no irrigation, 70, and 100% ET) will be assigned to the main plots and varieties to the sub-plots.
Soils for these studies have been sampled to determine nutrient availability and required fertilization as determined in consultation with European Union hemp agronomists. Soil moisture content will be determined with the gravimetric method (both trials) before or at planting and after harvest to assist with water balance calculations. We will keep accurate records of irrigation and rainfall amounts at each of the two trials. In addition, we will install Watermark sensors in the irrigation trial to monitor soil water availability throughout the growing season.
Fertilization studies (Multiple investigators)
Multiple varieties of hemp will be produced under organic production with and without sources of organic fertilizer in studies in West Virginia, while a single variety of dual purpose hemp will be tested with multiple N input levels in Virginia. The Virginia study will test responses to fertility under grain, fiber, and dual purpose management. Although the Virginia studies will be conducted as different experiments on the same site, and although rates of fertility applied for fiber will be lower than for grain or dual purpose production, each study will have some common rates of nitrogen application between them for potential “first pass” comparison of plant response to N in the different systems. Maryland research will involve production under different nutrient scenarios to understand how hemp production will fit within existing state nutrient management guidelines.
Pesticide studies (Multiple investigators)
Efforts to determine hemp responses to different herbicide and insecticide treatments will be part of on-going research programs to understand hemp management. Special attention will be given to pesticide residues where consumables (e.g., seeds and/or seed oils) are the target products.
III. Economics and Markets
Agronomic studies will provide valuable data on input costs and yields across a broad array of growing environments, management systems and end uses. These will be used to further develop and refine production budgets. Additional agricultural economists will be engaged to monitor changes in hemp markets as state and federal laws evolve. States that currently allow commercial hemp sales and processing either as part of or outside of a pilot program provide a testbed for establishing new processing and value-added businesses and local supply chains. Participants have close relationships with state departments of agriculture that collect data on acres planted, yields and disposition of hemp grown as part of their pilot programs. Analysis of state-level data will provide insight into how well the current acreage and processing capabilities meet production needs for end products. Changes in law, particularly at the federal level, could have significant impact on the expansion of processors and supply chains, which may result in expanded markets. Economists involved with the project will be well positioned to analyze the impacts of changes to these laws and policies on hemp markets.
Measurement of Progress and Results
- Identification of improved hemp cultivars suited for cropping in different regions of the USA.
- Identification of best agronomic management practices for hemp on a regional basis.
- Quantification and characterization of crop yield and quality as functions of plant cultivar and management practices.
- Development of molecular genetic tools for monitoring desirable traits in hemp as a function of cultivar and management practices.
Outcomes or Projected Impacts
- Hemp productivity will improve on the bases of better varietal selection and better agronomic practices.
- Re-introduction of hemp into both farm community and public consciousness will allow expansion of the use of and demand for hemp products.
- Data and management information derived from these studies will further inform researchers about the utility of hemp as an industrial commodity crop and will provide a basis for future research on product development and marketing.
Milestones(2016):Begin or continue hemp variety and agronomic trials, monitoring hemp productivity and weed and pest pressures.
(2017):Begin or continue crop quality research and from previous year’s trials. (Cultivars subject to change for varietal evaluation.) Initiate website of partner activities. Extend annual results through fact sheets, web presence.
(2018):Repeat or expand research efforts on agronomics and crop quality from local to regional scale. Extend annual results through fact sheets, web presence.
(2019):Begin or continue crop quality research and from previous year’s trials as needed. Begin data analysis and organization across different states. Develop research journal publications on hemp production and suitability for different sites. Extend annual results through fact sheets, web presence.
(2020):Complete peer-reviewed publications. Extend annual results through fact sheets, web presence. Disseminate results to the public according to the Outreach plan.
Projected ParticipationView Appendix E: Participation
Field sites at experiments conducted on farms (with producer collaborators as permitted by relevant state law) and at Ag Research and Extension centers will serve as the platform for conducting field days with interested members of the producer community and the general public. In-service training will be used to keep extension personnel and abreast of research progress. Information about the development of hemp as a commercial crop also will be delivered via news articles and newsletters, production guides, extension websites and through partnership with industry associations.
Activities of the project will be coordinated by elected officers serving as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. Each officer will serve a two-year term, with the Vice-Chair automatically moving up to the position of Chair after two years. Additionally, an Objective Coordinator will be appointed and responsible for summarizing research results for the objective for which they are responsible.
Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a NIFA Representative. Project members will meet annually to review research progress, exchange information about responses to their respective regulatory environments, and to plan and coordinate future efforts. Additionally, annual meetings will be used to identify new challenges and review and revise, as needed, common protocols for screening plant germplasm. The use of such common protocols will be essential for eventual publication of these data. Many decisions on exchange of germplasm will also be made at the annual meetings. Lastly a project web site will be established to facilitate communication and interim results among the participants.
Participants in the project will be required to comply with all applicable laws governing hemp in the state of their home institution. It should also be noted that among states with laws authorizing hemp cultivation, some are further along than others in full implementation of pilot programs. Participants will only be able to contribute to activities authorized within their states and approved by their institutions.
It should be noted that when applying for use of Hatch Multistate and other USDA funds on this project, each institution certifies to the following:
Certification Regarding Industrial Hemp: When signing the application (electronic submission through Grants.gov), the Authorized Organizational Representative is providing certification that if they grow, cultivate, or market industrial hemp under the proposed project, the organization will comply with all terms and conditions set by the applicant's State agency regarding industrial hemp growth, cultivation, and marketing. For this purpose, the term "industrial hemp" includes the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part or derivative of such plant, including seeds of such plant, whether growing or not, that is used exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) with a tetrahydrocannabinols concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. The term "tetrahydrocannabinols" includes all isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers of tetrahydrocannabinols.
To ensure that participants comply with the above statement, upon NIFA approval of this project additional guidance will be provided to experiment station offices reviewing requests to join this project. Guidance will include references such as the certification statement for NIFA funding and the National Conference of State Legislatures compilation of state hemp statutes. Most experiment stations are aware of the hemp laws within their states and will be a good control point for monitoring compliance. After notification of a participant joining the project in NIMSS, the Administrative Advisor will ask the participant to include a summary of their state’s hemp law and pilot program in their REEport project initiation. Participants in states without authorized hemp programs will be asked to include clarification for how their proposed work complies with applicable Federal and state laws.
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