The University of Missouri has planted the state’s first hemp crop in 70 years at its Bradford Research Center, the St. Louis Dispatch reports. Under a bill signed into law in June, universities are allowed to begin planting hemp crops immediately, but farmers still have to wait until Aug. 28.
The university is partnering with Tiger Fiber, LLC, which provided the seeds, on the crop study. The research spans six MU research centers across the state, including the Fisher Delta Research Center, the Greenley Research Center, Forage Systems Research Center, Hundley-Whaley Research Center, Graves-Chapple Research Center and the Southwest Research Center.
Dale Ludwig, executive director of Missouri Hemp Association, called the crops “the biggest opportunity in the last 200 years to make Missouri farmers more profitable.”
“The opportunity for universities to put seed in the ground this year will help our growers be more prepared for the 2020 growing season.” – Ludwig, in a press release, via Nutritional Outlook
Tom Raffety, president of the Missouri Hemp Producers Association, also applauded the university’s hemp research, telling the Dispatch that he has heard “horror stories” from farmers in other states who have purchased bad seeds.
“There’s only so much information you can find on the Internet, and much of it’s wrong,” he said in the report. “Hopefully the university research will really give some guidance to growers moving forward.”
The new law scrapped the old pilot program that allowed hemp cultivation but only on 10 to 50-acre plots. The new law has no acreage limits but still requires growers to be licensed with the state Department of Agriculture and, like all state programs approved after the passage of the Farm bill last year, Missouri’s still needs approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture before it is made permanent.
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