Gov. Wolf: Hemp offers new opportunities for farmers

Industrial Hemp 1_568886

TYRONE, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited a hemp growing site Friday to highlight opportunities available to hemp growers and processors.

The state Department of Agriculture issued more than 300 permits on nearly 600 acres at more than 800 different hemp growing locations this year, according to a news release.

“Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a new and in-demand market for hemp. This is a versatile product with many uses and it’s a product that consumers want,” Wolf said.

Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant. Hemp is grown mainly for fiber and seed and must maintain a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical in marijuana that produces a “high.”

“Hemp is a new, old crop that has the potential to make a big impact on Pennsylvania’s agricultural and economic landscape,” Redding said.

Wolf this summer signed the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, which will generate a specialty crop block grant program to invest in and encourage farming of high-priority crops like hemp.

Hemp is designated in Pennsylvania as a controlled plant, which requires all growers to register and obtain permits through the Agriculture Department.

“It’s a crop with both a rich history and a bright future here in the commonwealth,” Redding said.

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