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KS: Let Hemp Be Next Cash Crop

Katelyn Baker

Well-Known Member
An antiquated and unnecessary law is preventing the development of a cash crop that could help farmers in southwest Kansas who struggle to farm in the arid region that sees little water and an aquifer that is drying up.

Hemp – a plant that got caught up in the effort to criminalize marijuana in the 1930s – could offer a measure of relief to farmers who aren't finding much success with corn, milo and wheat, thanks to low prices and tough growing conditions in the corner of the state.

That could change, however, if the Kansas Legislature would open the door to effective research on the production of industrial hemp. With a change in the law, farmers would be allowed to grow the plant – which is hardy and requires little water – and markets could be developed for the plant's use. The federal government with the farm bill of 2014 has already opened the door to such research.

Hemp has long been used in a number of consumer products. Paper, clothing, rope, even a form of plastic can be developed from the plant. But misguided policy has prevented farmers from raising and selling the plant, even while it's a product grown in other countries.

The Agricultural Industry Growth Act in the Kansas House would allow Kansas farmers to grow the crop and allow researchers at Kansas State University to explore the plant's varieties as well as identify industrial uses for hemp.

It's long overdue, and the Legislature should pass this bill. It's not marijuana, and it's use in an industrial setting in no way moves us closer to legalization of marijuana – even though that should happen as well. With traditional crops at such abysmal prices, farmers, especially those in the harshest areas of the state, need an alternative crop that can be grown inexpensively. Hemp is a viable option that likely would thrive where other crops struggle.

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News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Let Hemp Be Next Cash Crop
Author: Staff
Contact: (308) 237-2152
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Website: Kearney Hub
 
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