Scientists Study Florida Hemp Production (Hometown News)

Scientists Study Florida Hemp Production

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences just completed a two-year study to assess the potential for an industrial hemp industry in Florida.

The study was authorized by the Florida legislature to help develop and support a profitable and sustainable hemp industry in Florida. Per that authorization, UF/IFAS was mandated to provide a report to the legislature describing the best available information for cultivation, harvesting, processing, and the economic impact of industrial hemp. That 107-page report is now available on the UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project website.

The report concluded that hemp is a viable crop for Florida, but it raised many issues that need to be addressed, both by farmers and the legislature, before the authors would recommend to farmers that they invest in hemp. The authors also raised environmental challenges, regarding both fertilizers and the risk of invasive crops.

“From our research, including the on-farm trials with growers around the state, we have found that hemp can grow in Florida but there is more work to be done on the way to a viable crop,” said Zachary Brym, UF/IFAS agronomy assistant professor and hemp pilot project lead scientist. “There are a variety of environmental and management factors that influence hemp productivity that we need to spend more time understanding. We’ll keep up that work as long as there is support to do so.”

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