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PA: Redding Visiting Hemp Research Projects

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Last week, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited Abram Ziegler's farm in Montour County, one of 14 research projects exploring the economic value and viability of industrial hemp as a marketable crop in Pennsylvania.

"These projects are an important first step toward demonstrating the potential of hemp to boost the vitality of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry," Redding said.

The project, managed by Pennsylvania Hemp Co., is comparing seed varieties under different growing conditions and exploring marketable uses for hemp products.

Ziegler's farm is a certified organic operation producing chicken feed and other organic crops. This research project has been growing hemp using certified organic methods.

The hemp grown there will be processed into fiber bales and seed cakes for a variety of commercial uses, including auto bodies, "hempcrete," animal bedding and animal feed.

The seeds will be pressed into oil at Susquehanna Mills in Montoursville for various culinary uses.

The 14 hemp projects were approved under the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, which the department launched in December after Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 92 of 2016.

"Before hemp production was banned in the U.S., hemp was grown and marketed for a tremendous variety of uses," Redding said. "In the decades since, Pennsylvania has missed out on valuable economic opportunities.

"We're hopeful that these research projects can spur the return of a promising crop and decreased dependence on imports," he said.

Redding has been visiting the research projects over the growing season. Most projects are now in the harvest phase.

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