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President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized industrial hemp production. Subtitle G- Hemp Production of PUBLIC LAW 115–334—DEC. 20, 2018 (Source: Congress.gov) goes over the terms of the law. Agriculture.com had this to say about the signing. “President Trump signed into law the 2018 farm bill that modestly strengthens the farm safety net, loosens farm subsidy rules, and legalizes industrial hemp as a crop…” Also, USA Today said “The $867 billion Farm Bill clarifies that hemp will be treated as an agricultural product, allowing growers to qualify for crop insurance and research grants. It also sets the stage for broader availability of hemp-based foods and supplements by removing the plant from the Controlled Substances Act. …” (Source: Agriculture.com & USA Today)
Information on Nebraska Law:
“LB657, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts, adopted the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act and amended existing statutes to establish a state hemp program within the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). The legislation gave NDA the authority to regulate the growing, harvesting and processing of hemp for research purposes in Nebraska under a licensing agreement until further action is taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To legally grow hemp in Nebraska, interested parties must receive a signed license agreement from NDA. Growing, handling and/or processing hemp without a signed license agreement from NDA is illegal in Nebraska.” (Source: Nebraska Department of Agriculture)
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content. (Source: Wikipedia)
Hemp and marijuana are, taxonomically speaking, the same plant; they are different names for the same genus (Cannabis) and species.
“Hemp and marijuana even look and smell the same,” says Tom Melton, deputy director of NC State Extension. “The difference is that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent (by dry weight) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. By comparison, marijuana typically contains 5 to 20 percent THC. You can’t get high on hemp.”
In other words, Cannabis plants with 0.3 percent or less of THC are hemp. Cannabis plants with more than 0.3 percent THC are marijuana. (Source: https://phys.org)
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the physical description of hemp as the following:
The hemp plant is a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb. The slender canelike stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. Seed-producing flowers form elongate, spikelike clusters growing on the pistillate, or female, plants. Pollen-producing flowers form many-branched clusters on staminate, or male, plants. (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)
History of hemp
Hemp has such a long history dating back 10,000 years, but here is a short history of hemp in the United States from the National Hemp Association. HERE
There are many uses for hemp, and Encyclopedia Britannica says it best: “The fibre, longer and less flexible than flax, is usually yellowish, greenish, or a dark brown or gray and, because it is not easily bleached to sufficiently light shades, is rarely dyed. It is strong and durable and is used for cordage—e.g., twine, yarn, rope, cable, and string—and for artificial sponges and such coarse fabrics as sacking (burlap) and canvas. In Italy some hemp receives special processing, producing whitish colour and attractive lustre, and is used to make fabric similar to linen. Hemp fibre is also used to make bioplastics that can be recyclable and biodegradable, depending on the formulation.
The edible seeds contain about 30 percent oil and are a source of protein, fibre, and magnesium. Shelled hemp seeds, sometimes called hemp hearts, are sold as a health food and may be eaten raw; they are commonly sprinkled on salads or blended with fruit smoothies. Hemp seed milk is used as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil with a low smoke point. Historically, the seed’s chief commercial use has been for caged-bird feed.” (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica)
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 2 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds weighing 20 grams (g) contains:
- 111 calories
- 6.31 g of protein
- 9.75 g of fat
- 1.73 g of carbohydrates (including 0.8 g of fiber and 0.3 g of sugar)
- 14 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 1.59 mg of iron
- 140 mg of magnesium
- 330 mg of phosphorus
- 240 mg of potassium
- 1.98 mg of zinc
- 22 micrograms (mcg) of folate
Hemp seeds also provide vitamin C, some B vitamins, and vitamins A and E.
Hemp products include hemp seeds, hemp milk, hemp oil, hemp cheese substitutes and hemp protein powder. These products can be purchased at most health food stores. (Source: Medical News Today)
We at Hemp Consultants know this is one of the main questions when it comes to hemp as CBD has become more popular in the past couple years. So we found a great article from Barleans.com to help you understand CBD a bit more:
“CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. It is one of more than 100 unique compounds found in hemp, known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are known to promote health and to keep people resilient to changes in their environment. And while CBD is an incredibly safe and therapeutic component of cannabis, as its popularity grows, so do the many misconceptions associated with it. There is one question in particular that keeps many potential users at bay: Is CBD marijuana and will it make me high? The answer: no and no. CBD is non-psychoactive (it doesn’t make you feel euphoric) and is considered extremely safe. In fact, CBD can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC, the component of marijuana that makes you feel “high.”…” (Source: Barleans.com)
Hemp can thrive in most environments within the United States. The main areas that will not have an easy time growing hemp are extreme desert climates and high mountain areas. Ideal conditions are warm-weather areas with well drained soil rich in organic matter. You would want to avoid any ground with excessively we soil due to poor drainage. Seeking ground with high levels of nutrients will be the key to having a successful crop, and because of this hemp is a great crop to have in a rotation with corn, soybeans, and other crops.
The growing cycle of the hemp is approximately 108 to 120 days and is complex like any other crop within the agriculture business. However, the internationalhempassociation.org has a great article on the cycle of hemp. You can check that article out here. (Source: International Hemp Association)
We at HempConsultants know everyone is interested in how much profit is going to be in hemp. Honestly, this is a hard question to answer, because it depends on so many factors. However, here are a couple articles talking about how major publications are reacting to the hemp market.
Capitalpress: Hemp gains ground among farmers
The Philadelphia Inquirer: As farmers flock to hemp, Amish and ‘English’ in Pennsylvania foresee real profits
New York Times: Amid Trade War, Farmers Lean on a New Crop: Hemp
Agriculture.com: New Study Shows Great Promise for Growing Hemp
Even though hemp and marijuana are vastly different in how they are used, since they come from the same family of plant the way that you identify the difference in Male in Female hemp is virtually the same as marijuana. We found a great article from wiki how explaining and providing pictures to help you identify male vs female hemp plants. Link HERE.
Hemp biomass is usually a new term for farmers that haven’t delt with hemp before. According to American goldenbiotech.com they explain hemp biomass the following way: “With the recent developments in hemp production, people are discovering that hemp can actually be used in many ways. It can be used as an additive to certain food products, such as milk, pasta, bread etc. But other than these, hemp has also been found to be an excellent source of fuel, which is pretty interesting. Hemp has been proven to be highly valuable in the energy sector since its byproducts can be used as alternative fuels.
When it comes to fuel, hemp falls under the classification known as biomass. The term “biomass” basically refers to any kind of organic matter that can be made into fuel. Thus, the hemp biomass is a potential source for renewable energy. For years, scientists and researchers have been studying hemp in terms of using it in producing industrial oil and biofuel.” (Source: American Golden Bio Tech)
Dale Softley CPAg -Certified Professional Agronomist
Before the spring work gets more hectic it is time to develop a plan of action how to handle a herbicide drift into sensitive crops. Dicamba drift is an economic problem to non-GMO Soybeans, Grapes, Hops and other broad leaf plants. Actions taken following an herbicide invasion determine the possibilities of recovering economic damage.
State Departments of Agriculture are charged with enforcing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)regulations on Agriculture Chemicals. In a few words this means, enforcing the herbicide label as posted with each herbicide. It is not the State’s responsibility to help the owner of a damaged crop recover damages, only to enforce the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as detailed on the label.
It is a damaged farmer’s responsibility to recover economic damages from the herbicide drift, source if known. If one is damaged, it becomes your responsibility to document the extent of damage and demonstrate the amount of chemicals present on your property is at a level to cause the alleged damage. For this reason, samples independent of the State Department of Agriculture are critical in supporting your claim against the offender, or their insurance company.
For the above reasons we suggest visiting with your agricultural attorney before a problem occurs and have a plan of action developed before having the problem. Select a reputable herbicide testing laboratory, have a collection or sampling plan worked out, supplies on hand, such as collection bags, and appropriate gloves. As soon as leaf deformation is observed collect and chill plant tissue, as per laboratory instructions. Put these samples in a freezer for analysis later. Start the chain of evidence at this time. Photo document the observations, with precise locations within your farm (GPS from your phone). There are apps that will include the GPS coordinates with each photo.
Storing samples in the freezer is a way to preserve the herbicide concentration for later analysis. They can be assayed if needed for insurance claims, or civil litigation. It is best to have a plan and not need it, rather than need a protocol and not have it ready to execute in a timely manner. It is your crop, have a contingent plan in place.