As a Farmers Union member, Bluestem's editor supports allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp to food, fiber, oil and biofuel; the Minnesota Farmers Union is joined by the National Farm Bureau and the Grange in seeking to return this crop to producers' portfolio for rotation.
There's finally as glimmer of hope for those who want to add hemp to their options, throwing a lifeline to the industry. Of course, if that rope is made of hemp, Minnesota farmers didn't share in a penny of the money made from field to fiber.
From Session Daily's article, House passes wide-ranging supplemental budget bill:
Advocates for industrial hemp would have a modest success in the bill. It would direct the Department of Agriculture to examine how other states are implementing the research authority that was granted in the most recent federal farm bill. The measure stops short, however, of proposals from previous years that would have allowed hemp to be grown for commercial products like clothing. MDA is directed by the bill to report to the relevant legislative committees about its finding no later than Jan. 15, 2015.
Industrial hemp won't get anyone high, but it might help farmers and value-added processors make money for a burgeoning market for legal products. Minnesotans can buy hemp-based products, but only farmers in other states and nations can grow the crop, We should allow farmers and businesses to capture that revenue stream and keep those dollars on Main Street.
Photo: Like the sign says, industrial hemp isn't for smoking. It can make a decent biofuel stock, though.
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