Recently, the University of Florida Board of Trustees gave the green light to UF/IFAS researchers for the development of hemp management and cropping systems. The move was major in showing the university’s commitment to learning more about what could become a valuable alternative crop for the state’s agriculture producers.
Industrial hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, has been cultivated for many millennia primarily as a fiber and grain crop. In addition, industrial hemp has multiple applications, such as for building materials, plastics, food, skin products, pain relief, and more.
Often confused with its cannabis cousin marijuana, industrial hemp contains considerably less of the psychoactive compound THC (less than 0.3% per dry weight) and requires minimal care in cultivation as opposed to the intensively controlled environment necessary for medicinal and recreational cannabis production.
A sign of the times, the action taken by UF leaders shortly preceded the filing of a bill by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that would remove hemp from the banned substances list and make the crop eligible for crop insurance. [Read more at Growing Produce]