With 22,800 acres registered to grow industrial hemp in Illinois, questions are building in anticipation for the first large-scale harvest of the crop in the state since the World War II era. At the Farm Progress Show, Aug. 27-29 in Decatur, Ill., growers will have a chance ask experts questions before harvesttime.
The National Hemp Association is taking over half of the north Varied Industries Tent (Lot 8000) at the show and sharing basic genetic, growing and cultivation information with growers. Attendees can also build a wall with concrete made from hemp or check out the trailer-size hemp home.
“We reached out to them asking for a ‘Hemp 101,’” says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress Show director. “We think there are a lot more unknowns than knowns with hemp, so we wanted to make sure nobody’s going to feel bad walking in and not knowing anything. This should be a very nonthreatening way to learn.”
Erica Stark, executive director of the National Hemp Association, will be giving an overview on federal policy alongside the association’s chairman, Geoff Whaling. Theirs is one of many presentations that will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day of the show.
“I just testified to the U.S. Senate Ag Committee last month,” Stark says. “We have a good feel for what is happening and what we would like to see happen.” She notes that initial federal regulations for the 2020 growing season will be coming out within weeks of the show.
“Each session has a question-and-answer, so if anybody has more detailed questions, they have the opportunity to ask them then,” she adds.
A farm manager will give a talk on cultivation each day of the Farm Progress Show. The CEO of Kush.com also will speak about market pricing. The president of Advanced Extraction will talk about selecting genetics and testing considerations, and understanding the certificates of analysis.
For cultivation, presentations will be split between harvesting hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) and for the grain and fiber. In Illinois, 99% of licensed growers are growing for CBD.
“CBD is the focus of where the industry is right now, and it’s where all the markets are and what almost everybody is cultivating it for, but we certainly want to promote the fiber and grain aspects of it as well, because that’s going to be the future of the crop,” Stark says.
New Holland will have equipment that’s currently being used for hemp set up outside of the north VIT. New Holland and Canopy Growth will have representatives in the National Hemp Association area. Next door to the area, there’s the Missouri Hemp Association (Lot 8102), Boring Hemp Genetics (Lot 8001) and Zilis (Lot 8003), a best-selling CBD hemp oil.