WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- The passing of the 2018 farm bill legalized the production of Hemp, since then farmers have been interested in adding it to their crop rotation.
"We have a lot of corn and bean growers in this state that are showing interest in diversifying their crops,” said Marguerite Bolt a Hemp Extension Specialist, Purdue University. “There are a lot of vegetable growers that are sort of interested in this CBD production model and looking at adding again another crop that they can use in their rotation."
But there's one problem, Hemp hasn't been grown on large amounts of acreage for over half a century.
"We had such a long gap in production in the United States,” added Bolt. “There are so many things we don't know. We are hoping this research project will not only help us understand hemp production but also we'll be able to apply this to our growers."
That's where this grant will step in. Researchers will be able to study the best way to grow Hemp organically. Which they haven't had the opportunity to do in years past.
"We'll be looking at other cover crop rotations with Hemp we'll be looking at soil interactions, pathogens, insects and yields,“ said Bolt. “It will be kind of an all-inclusive project, we'll also have people looking at economics."
Researchers hope this will help introduce Hemp into the agricultural landscape of Indiana and pique people's interest in agriculture as a whole.
"We sort of view hemp as a gateway to agriculture,” said Ron Turco the Department Head of Agronomy at Purdue. “There's a lot of people who are interested in Hemp that were not necessarily interested in agriculture but they are interested in growing hemp. So, we use it as a tool to bring people in.”
Researchers say having hemp grown here locally in the Lafayette area will help educate people about the difference between hemp and cannabis. For more information on requirements to grow hemp in Indiana click here.