Should Farmers Look at Hemp?
Although the federal government still considers hemp a Schedule I controlled substance, hemp doesn't have the psychoactive effects that marijuana has.
The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is growing hemp to explore the best methods for farmers. Perry Brown, the institute's executive director, says hemp is a good fit for many farmers' crop rotation.
"It's just another tool that we could potentially look at to help us be better farmers," he states. "I think it fits within our farming practices and what we do."
According to the Hemp Business Journal, hemp product sales reached $820 million in 2017. However, the crop still faces hurdles because of its Schedule I classification.
Brown says this year's Farm Bill could change that.
"Hopefully in the Farm Bill, they have some provisions that change it to industrial hemp being listed as a farm crop, and I think that will help us with the growing and how we can manage that crop here across the United States," he states.
Brown says hemp is being used in food such as energy bars, and hemp seed oil is used in cosmetics and food products. Some lines of hemp are high in a compound known as CBD, and research is looking into its possible pharmaceutical uses.