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The Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in Oklahoma Has Started on the Right Foot

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While most farmers are waiting to see what’s in store for them for the recent Farm Bill, officials of the state of Oklahoma have admitted that the hemp pilot program of the state has been extremely successful. It was in May when the state’s Department of Agriculture started accepting applicants for their pilot program on industrial hemp research.

Diversifying the Economy

According to the State Representative, Mickey Dollens, the state is aware of the importance of diversifying the economy. He further admitted that the state needs new and recurring revenue and the hemp pilot program can do both. Oklahoma is one of those states that’s considered a prime real estate for industrial hemp production. The local farmers of the state are capable of growing the crop and they are known to do it pretty well. Furthermore, a lot of citizens of the state can afford to purchase new products that can be made from hemp. All these can be taxed, which means more revenue for the state.

House Bill 2913

House Bill 2913 created the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program of Oklahoma. This bill seeks to allow colleges and universities from the state to cultivate hemp for research purposes.

The goal is to cash in from the crop. Unfortunately, hemp has always been considered synonymous to marijuana. Although most of the citizens of the state are not familiar with hemp, officials say that the product can actually be used in producing a wide range of materials such as food, textiles, agriculture, construction materials, rope, and many more.

Initially, independent producers can’t apply for a direct license to cultivate hemp. They should work with a college or university for this.

More Opportunities for Hemp Farmers

After the passing of the Farm Bill, industry leaders believe that there will be more opportunities for growers of the crop. The Farm Bill seeks to remove hemp from the list of Schedule 1 substances that are controlled by Federal Law. As a result, farmers can now apply for crop insurance, just like any farmer would. It also allows for hemp seedlings and clones to be distributed across states.

However, there are certain procedures that the state must follow. The new Farm Bill is a truly exciting opportunity for the farmers of the state. However, the legislation doesn’t necessarily mean immediate change. State officials are yet to develop and present a plan to the country’s Department of Agriculture in order for it to be approved before any changes take full effect.

The current hemp pilot program is going to remain in effect until the state receives the approval of the new plan for 2019. As of now, there are currently eight universities and colleges that have signed up to take part in the program. In the previous year, there are 28 licensed hemp growers in the state who cultivated 445 acres of the plant at an 80,000 square feet area growing space. This was according to the Department of Agriculture of Oklahoma.

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