Universities to begin Industrial Hemp growing, study

Published: Apr. 29, 2019 at 10:53 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This planting season, there’s a new crop in fields - Industrial Hemp.

Both farmers and universities across the state are working with the state to produce and study the crop.

Troy University is one of several that applied to harvest the plant this growing season through the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

The plant will be grown with staff from Dothan’s campus with a focus on understanding production. Members of the main campus will study the CBD extraction process.

“There’s some existing methods of course we can identify some cheaper Methods or some methods which would work conveniently,” said Zhiyong Wang at Troy University.

In addition to Troy, ASU, Tuskegee, Alabama A&M, and the University of Alabama were also approved.

Planting season for farmers will begin in a few weeks. Jeremy Doswell’s seeds have already arrived, the ground has been turned, and he's monitoring the weather.

His crew will get out soon and begin planting the crop by hand on his eight acres. He’s one of 152 farmers under the state’s pilot growing program.

Doswell plans to harvest the plant for CBD oil.

He says this is a year of testing, but based on his research of the crop it’s an easy plant to grow and is expected to do well in Alabama’s climate.

“We have a high moisture here so our plants will always have a little drink on the top side in the morning as long as we keep a pretty average rain schedule,” said Doswell.

Crop Prices for industrial hemp are fluctuating - but harvesting the crop for CBD oil is expected to be higher than state cash crops cotton and peanuts.

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