Exploring the potential of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania

Researchers in Pennsylvania have been studying industrial hemp (IH) under a permitted research program, now in its second year, managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). They’re exploring the crop’s potential as a specialty commodity crop, and are developing production best practices as allowed under the PDA program.

The federal and state policies around IH are in flux, and the economic infrastructure necessary to its success as a commercial crop, including processing facilities, supply chains and markets development, is in its infancy. A multi-disciplinary team of Penn State Extension staff, faculty and researchers, along with NERCRD staff, worked together to create a brief that examines these issues in depth, as well as opportunities for Penn State to continue to update related materials as this fluid industry develops.

Additional outputs from this effort include scheduled educational workshops, a policy scan, horticultural production guidelines, production budget guidelines, and supply chain and market scans. These pieces have been united in the creation of a new Ag Alternatives publication, which can be found at: https://extension.psu.edu/industrial-hemp-production.

This publication was developed by the Small-scale and Part-time Farming Project at Penn State with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Extension Service, the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Research and Graduate Education, and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

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