hemp research

May 5, 2022
USDA Funds Additional Hemp Production Research

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has invested over $20 million in hemp-related research in fiscal year 2021 and 2022. The federal agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently rounded up its efforts to help producers, processors, regulators and officials make the best decisions about cultivating industrial hemp.

The Business of Growing and Selling Industrial Hemp

NIFA is currently funding several projects aimed at uncovering the economic opportunities and risks associated with growing hemp.

  • At North Carolina A&T State University, a $500,000 project led by Obed Quaicoe is determining why farmers go into hemp production; how profitable hemp farms are; what potential risks are associated with hemp production; and what nutrient combinations enhance plant growth and reduce disease.
  • In Michigan, Dr. Stephen Yanni at Bay Mills Community College is launching a Hemp Tribal Research Initiative ($499,000) that joins the tribal college’s expertise with that of Michigan State University, Lake Superior State University and the Little Traverse Bay of Odawa Indians to facilitate the successful adoption of hemp by the state’s tribal communities.
  • At Oregon State University, a $638,000 project led by David Hendrix is examining both hemp and hop to reveal how both evolved and diverged, and what genotypes might regulate the production of flavor and aroma compounds, both of which are characteristics that make the plants valuable.
  • At the University of Vermont, Jane Kolodinsky is leading a $500,000 project that seeks to identify what economic impact a hemp sector might have on the state’s rural communities.

Developing best practices for hemp crop management

Much of the knowledge base on optimal hemp production in the U.S. is either lost or outdated, and scientists are working collaboratively to quickly fill those gaps.

Identifying New Frontiers in Hemp

In addition to establishing the foundational knowledge for the optimal cultivation of industrial hemp, researchers are exploring ways to extract value from the plant beyond its traditional utilizations.

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