Apr 6, 2022
Hemp Research Foundation Created

To advance science supporting a sustainable hemp industry, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) is committing up to $2.5 million to establish the Hemp Research Consortium, a public-private partnership bringing together research-intensive and land grant universities with industry participants.

Consortium members, including Agilent TechnologiesIND HEMPInternational HempOregon CBDThe Scotts Company and U.S. Sugar, are contributing matching funds to the Consortium for highly collaborative research conducted at the Consortium member institutions of Cornell UniversityNorth Carolina State University, and University of Kentucky, for a total investment of up to $5 million.

Due to previous restrictions affecting hemp, little information is available on production practices that can help hemp farmers match the success of other crops. Hemp must make up ground through dedicated genetic research and breeding to provide growers with locally adapted varieties that can meet regulations on THC levels.

“Hemp is an incredibly versatile crop with significant potential,” said David Suchoff, director of the Consortium and assistant professor at NC State University. “The Hemp Research Consortium aims to conduct highly collaborative, transdisciplinary research that leverages the technical and intellectual resources across the academic and industry partners. In doing so, we will be able to address many of the challenges faced by this industry and help to accelerate it forward.”

The Consortium provides advantages to a wide variety of stakeholders. Growers, processors, retailers and consumers benefit from a high-quality, resilient crop that offers opportunities for new food, health and personal care products; consumer textiles; and industrial applications. Hemp can also be a viable alternative crop for tobacco-dependent and economically distressed farmers. A strong hemp industry can have an important impact on global warming—during growth, hemp sequesters more carbon dioxide than any other agricultural crop.

“Our students are eager to apply the latest genomics technology to hemp breeding to quickly improve yield, uniformity and stability of hemp varieties to benefit growers, while meeting the needs of companies that want to use hemp in sustainable product development,” said Larry Smart, professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University. “The Consortium links our breeding program with end users for seed to sale solutions.”

“Hemp is a crop that can change the way we live. It provides an amazing food product that can feed the billions of people that call our world home, it provides a fiber product that is versatile to the point of creating millions of new jobs and it can help us clean up our environment that we’ve neglected for far too long,” said Ken Elliott, president of IND HEMP.

The knowledge generated by the Consortium will be publicly available through scientific publications, data-sharing and dissemination of research as appropriate, benefiting future public and private research efforts.

For more information, please visit https://foundationfar.org/

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