Hemp farm applications skyrocket

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection reports a 600 percent increase in applications for licenses to grow industrial hemp.

“We attribute much of the increase to removal of industrial hemp from the controlled substances act as part of the 2018 farm bill late last year,” notes Brian Kuhn, director of the department’s Plant Industry Bureau, in a release. “That removed much of the legal uncertainty that may have held participation back somewhat last year.”

According to a DATCP, 1,405 applications to grow industrial hemp have been received thus far in 2019 compared to 247 last year. Processor applications were at 692 compared to 100 in 2018. The vast majority of applications received are from first-time growers and processors.

Industrial hemp has very low levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and is grown mostly for as grain or CBD oil. Wisconsin had a thriving hemp farming market until the 1970s, when industrial hemp was added to the controlled substances list.