May 24, 2019
A comprehensive look at hemp production in Michigan including history & regulation, users & markets and the agronomic elements of industrial production.FILE DOWNLOAD
Yes, on a limited basis for the 2019 growing season. Industrial hemp can be grown for two very specific purposes, research and testing. Growers must apply through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). Applications and legal requirements are available on MDARD’s Industrial Hemp in Michigan website.
The 2018 Farm Bill states that a farm will have to provide a legal description of the field(s) in which hemp will be grown. Furthermore, these records must be kept on file for 3 years after the crop is grown. Hemp will also need to be tested for THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) through an approved lab before marketing. THC levels can be no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
However, before industrial hemp can be grown commercially, the USDA will develop the rulemaking process, which will give each state the authority to regulate the production of hemp within their state. Then MDARD must submit a state plan that will be reviewed and commented on by USDA. Once the state has received approval by USDA, they can enroll farmers to grow industrial hemp. Details on Michigan’s regulatory process will be available on MDARD’s Industrial Hemp in Michigan website.
While there may be seed available in the United States, the U.S. has not set standards for seed certification. Canada has been growing industrial hemp since 1998, and only varieties of industrial hemp that are named in the List of Approved Cultivars (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/producing-selling-hemp/commercial-licence/list-approved-cultivars-cannabis-sativa.html), published by Health Canada, are approved for planting. These varieties are known to produce plants containing less than 0.3 percent THC under normal conditions. For more information on seed selection, see MSU Extension bulletin Industrial Hemp Production in Michigan (E3402).
Due to lack of agronomic information and markets that are not well established, we do not know if industrial hemp will be profitable in Michigan. We do know that there are many uses for industrial hemp including fiber, grain, oils, pharmaceutical products and more. It is reported that industrial hemp can have over 25,000 uses. As opportunities become available, growers should have a contract in place with a reputable buyer of industrial hemp product(s) before planting. For more information on markets, see MSU Extension bulletin Industrial Hemp Production in Michigan (E3402).
Industrial hemp is an untested crop in Michigan. Local research will be conducted beginning in 2019 to provide some region-specific data on cultural requirements. In the meantime, MSU has published a bulletin compiling the best information available. For now, Michigan farmers interested in learning about the production can review information from Ontario. This is the most relevant resource related to soils, climate, varieties and management practices due to proximity and latitude similarity. A fact sheet on growing industrial hemp is available at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs . For more information on seed selection, see MSU Extension bulletin Industrial Hemp Production in Michigan (E3402).
MSU Extension’s Field Crop Virtual Breakfast on Aug. 15 will discuss productions aspect of industrial hemp in Michigan
Connect, share and learn at upcoming field days in the Upper Peninsula and northern lower Michigan covering field crop, forage and specialty crop production.
Industrial hemp and marijuana growers must work together to ensure a bright future for all sectors of the budding cannabis industry.
Industrial hemp was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill and is a new opportunity for Michigan growers. Join a four-part webinar series on growing industrial hemp, especially in greenhouse production.