UF Receives First Certified Hemp Plants
In addition to its inaugural $1.3 million private sponsorship, Green Roads has donated and coordinated delivery of the first certified hemp plants into the state of Florida in 70 years to launch the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hemp pilot research program.
South Florida-based Green Roads is also providing “hemp grow” experts to work alongside UF scientists at four of its dedicated research and education facilities.
The pilot program, launched in spring 2018, is designed to explore if industrial hemp can be a successful and sustainable crop for Florida farmers.
“These initial 50 plants — the first to prep, propagate and plant in the state — will set a new, exciting frontier that positions Florida for great economic advantage for generations to come,” said Arby Barroso, co-founder of Green Roads who has been a leading champion of pilot program advocacy, hemp education and legislative policy-making insights to support the UF/IFAS collaboration.
“Our company’s investment in financial and expert resources to support the University of Florida is all about protecting both farmers and consumers and doing this research is paramount in accomplishing that mutual goal,” he added.
“Through our collaboration with Green Roads and the state of Florida, we look forward to generating the science to make hemp a dynamic industry in Florida,” notes Roger Kjelgren, director of UF/IFAS MREC. “Now that Green Roads has provided IFAS with the initial pilot plants, the real work starts as we propagate plants in preparation for late spring field plantings. We must research how much light, water and nutrients are needed to efficiently produce hemp for wise resource use and optimum yield.”
UF/IFAS scientists will study the hemp varieties suitable for planting in Florida, develop industrial hemp management practices and cropping systems economically viable for Florida and assess hemp invasion risk in Florida’s natural and greenhouse environments.