PA: Mercersburg Farm Participating In Hemp-Research Initiative

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Seventy years ago, Pennsylvania lost the last of its hemp crops as farmers made the switch to tobacco post-Prohibition.

Fourteen farms that received imported seeds from a fledgling research project now are harvesting the cannabis plants.

Pennsylvania Act 92 of 2016 allows researchers to determine how the plants fare in various climates and soils before being used in industrial applications, which include edibles, oils and fibers.

Portions of the plants can fit thousands of uses – everything from gluten-free flour to paper to materials that form the dashboard of a car.

Hemp for those products currently is imported because the country doesn't allow for hemp sales within its borders.

"I would like to see it be a potentially profitable crop. ... Why not give our producers a chance?" Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding asked.

Redding toured a Mercersburg dairy farm that dedicated 5 acres to growing hemp, which will be harvested next week. Some of the varieties are taller than farmer Shase Hollenshead.

One regulation for hemp requires the THC level to be so low that the plant doesn't produce the effects commonly associated with smoking marijuana.

Redding said he was impressed by how the Mercersburg plants grew with little interference from weeds, and the agriculture secretary and Hollenshead discussed challenges with combine blades possibly getting jammed during harvesting.

Information gathered from the first crops will be used to determine whether the program can be expanded, Redding said.


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Full Article: Mercersburg farm participating in hemp-research initiative | Pennsylvania |
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