Exploring opportunities: Growing industrial hemp in Michigan

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.

Industrial hemp

Industrial hemp is one of the oldest crops, but it is one of the largest new opportunities for growers in Michigan. In fact, Cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) was commonly used during the 14th century by Europeans for medicine, clothing, sails and rope. The uses and cultivation of Cannabis had an expansive and complex history in North America throughout the centuries until all forms of Cannabis were deemed illegal in 1970.

From a legal perspective, there are two types of Cannabis:

  • Plants that contain over 3% THC (Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component) known as marijuana.
  • Plants that have less than 0.3% THC known as industrial hemp or simply as hemp. Industrial hemp is cultivated to produce fiber, grain, biomass or non-intoxicating medicinal compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD).

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of industrial hemp in all 50 states. Therefore, many field crop farms and greenhouse and nursery producers are now looking at industrial hemp as a new opportunity for their businesses. Michigan State University Extension is hosting a webinar series, “Industrial Hemp Production 101,” to cover the basics of growing industrial hemp and considerations for growers considering entering the industry of this burgeoning crop.

The weekly webinars will be 12:30-2 p.m. EST every Thursday from July 18 through Aug. 8, 2019. Each webinar will include a one-hour main presentation followed by time for speakers to answer questions from registrants. The webinars will specifically address growing industrial hemp in greenhouse production although many of the topics will be of interest to those growing it in the field. The cost of the webinar series is $20 and you can register online.

Highlights of the webinar series

  • Learn how industrial hemp varieties are different from other
  • Learn about the new opportunity to grow industrial hemp in the greenhouse.
  • Learn about growing requirements and pest management strategies.
  • Learn how to navigate the business aspects, including crop insurance for growing industrial hemp in the greenhouse.
  • Learn about the next steps and how to begin producing industrial hemp in Michigan.

Webinar dates and topics

July 18: Hemp: Varieties, Production Strategies and Growing Requirements
Presented by Lynn Griffith, tropical plant and soil expert
This webinar will cover the various forms of hemp in production, indoor versus field production strategies, propagation, media and soils, and environmental and day length requirements, including growth stages for indoor production.

July 25: Insect and Mite Pests of Industrial Hemp
Presented by Raymond Cloyd, Kansas State University professor of Entomology and Extension specialist
This webinar will initially discuss the major insect and mite pests of hemp including chewers, suckers and borers. Then the webinar will address the plant protection strategies that can be implemented to manage insect and mite pests of industrial hemp including cultural, chemical and biological.

Aug. 1: Business Considerations in the Industrial Hemp Industry
Presented by Jody Yarbrough, CPA, Savant CFO
This webinar will cover how business owners can protect their current business and their new venture. Learn about the basics of accounting and tax compliance, workers comp and crop insurance in the industrial hemp industry.

Aug. 8: Next Steps: Considerations for Hemp Production
Presented by Allison Justice, owner of SC Botanicals and The Hemp Mine, and Eric Anderson, MSU Extension field crops educator
During the final webinar in the series, Justice will provide information for those considering changing from ornamental production to industrial hemp production, its potential profits and yields. She will also briefly explore the process of CBD extraction and oil. Anderson will provide information specific for Michigan growers considering growing industrial hemp; he will cover recent changes in regulation and how to register with the Michigan Department of Agriculture for a license.

Have a busy summer and can’t join the webinars live?

All of the webinars will be recorded and available to registrants for one year after the conclusion of the webinar series, after which they will be archived on the MSU Hemp website.

Learn more about the webinar by viewing the flyer. Register today!

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