Midwestern Hemp Research Collaborative Seeks Grain/Fiber Growers
The Midwestern Hemp Research Collaborative (MHRC) — a joint effort of Michigan State University, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute — is looking for licensed and experienced grain/fiber hemp growers to conduct on-farm variety trials during the 2023 to 2025 growing seasons. Growers will be asked to plant replicated strips of five hemp varieties, sample and record observations of the crop at key growth stages. A stipend of $500 per year is available to offset participant expenses.
Participating growers will also have an opportunity to serve on an advisory group for the project, which will meet quarterly online. Interested growers are encouraged to submit an application by Feb. 15, 2023.
As a re-emerging crop and highly regulated industry, the U.S. hemp sector faces both basic and unique challenges to sustainable growth. Principle among those challenges is adapted cultivar development and selection. The MHRC seeks to address this challenge with regional data from participatory on-farm research. Their goal is to support stakeholder decision-making and mitigate risk to ultimately increase the regional adaptation, productivity and profitability of industrial hemp in the Midwest U.S.
Work of the MHRC is made possible by financial support from the USDA-NIFA Supplemental and Alternative Crops (SAC) program (award #2022-38624-38368). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) was established to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. The SAC program supports the breeding, testing, and development of superior performing canola and industrial hemp varieties and production practices that result in improved cost efficiencies, reduced grower risks, and wider use in production systems.
Hemp performance data collected through this project will be shared via the Midwestern Hemp Database, which can be accessed at https://extension.illinois.edu/hemp/midwestern-hemp-databases.