Hemp Plants Growing

Applications To Farm Hemp Are Up 600 Percent

Industrial hemp, an old crop that started anew in Wisconsin agriculture last year, could turn into a full-fledged industry this year if the number of applications to grow it is an indication.

Almost 2,100 applications to grow or process industrial hemp have been received by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for 2019, nearly a six-fold increase from the less than 350 licenses issued in 2018.

State officials said a big reason for the increase is the removal of industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill passed late in the year and signed by President Donald Trump.

To date, 1,405 growers have applied to grow industrial hemp in 2019 in Wisconsin, compared to 247 grower licenses issued in 2018, and 692 have applied to process hemp, up from 100 in 2018.

Most of the applicants are first-time growers and processors. With the surge in interest, DATCP said it might take six to eight weeks to get applications processed.

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