Kansas Farmers Have High Hopes Of Growing Hemp

Photo Credit: HIA

James Gee grew up on a Kansas farm, but hasn’t grown crops on it for 16 years. Now that the governor has legalized growing industrial hemp, he’s thinking about jumping back in.

“I’ve been looking for something and this tripped my trigger about three or four years ago and I researched it,” Gee said. “There’s really no crop out there today that I could farm other than this that could let me go back to farm that’s going to make me enough that I could support this thing.”

Hemp is used to in oils and plastics. Farmers will have to have to get a license to grow the crop in Kansas.

If THC levels get too high in the crop, it is considered marijuana and deemed illegal.

“The law will not allow us to put that product into commerce or move it off the farm, said Chad Bontrager, agribusiness services director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Farmers can control the levels of THC by the climate the plant is in and the way it is planted.

For some farmers, the risk is worth the reward.

Joel Sandoval does not believe the wheat on his family’s land is getting the maximum potential for profits from the land. He believes hemp could change that.

“If we were not regulated as far as the amount we could grow, or if it was regulated to 100 acres, I would grow all hemp,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture must put forward rules and regulations by the end of this year.