UF IFAS Hemp Project
The HEMP industry has been growing like wildfire since the 2018 farm bill, which made the production of hemp legal. Since then, CBD, and other hemp products have been more widely accessible to people that might need those products for medical purposes. It has also given farmers an opportunity to diversify or pivot their operations to take part in this new era. In the past 3 years, regulations have changed as we learn more about hemp production and how to streamline research as well as production across the country. In Florida, one university if helping farmers research which cultivars of hemp are safe for use in the state as well as being hardy enough for the sunshine state.
The University of Florida is starting a new industrial Hemp approval program which is aimed to test new cultivars of hemp and ensure they will flourish in the Florida climate, both for farmers looking at new varieties and producers looking to bring their cultivars to the state.
Any hemp cultivar that goes through this 12-week testing phase will be approved for regular use in Florida. The 12-week process takes place in-doors where the plants are monitored and tested by members of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Research team. One of the requirements to pass is that the cultivar must sit below the state's 0.3% THC level. UF is partnering with Roseville Farms in Apopka for the testing location.
Producers looking to certify their cultivars for this program should go to the UF/IFAS website and follow the instructions for the HEMP Approval Program. The application includes a fee and providing 20 cuttings of their cultivar. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will inspect the cuttings upon arrival looking for pests or diseases before the start of the trials. Any cultivar that passes the approval program will be approved for use on Florida hemp farms.