Less than a year into the program, the number of farmers growing hemp in South Carolina could double.
That’s because the South Carolina Department of Agriculture is making more permits available for farmers looking to participate in the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
The SCDA will select up to 40 farmers to receive permits to grow industrial hemp. That’s twice the amount of the 20 farmers chosen in the inaugural year of the program.
Not only is the number of farmers doubling for 2019, but so is the amount of crops the selected farmers will be permitted to grow. The 2018 pilot program allowed 20 farmers to grow up to 20 acres of industrial hemp, but according to SCDA, farmers who receive permits will each be allowed to grow up to 40 acres.
“Expanding the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program will give us a greater opportunity to assess where and how this crop grows best in South Carolina,” S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in a news release. “Ultimately, industrial hemp is about crop diversity and new business for our rural farmers.”
Hemp is a cousin of marijuana, but it contains 0.3 percent or less of the psychoactive chemical that will get you high. Marijuana, a separate variety of Cannabis sativa, can contain up to 40 percent. [Read more at The State]