The Growth of Industrial Hemp

Farmers in Pittsylvania County who grow hemp have increased since 2019.

Hemp is a material that can be used in personal care products, foods and beverages, fabrics, papers, nutritional supplements, construction materials, and other manufactured products.

Ever since Virginia’s Industrial Hemp Law in March of 2019, which gives permits to legally plant hemp; the growth of commercial products in industrial hemp has heightened.

To legally possess hemp plants, seeds, leaves, or flowers one must be registered as an Industrial Hemp Grower, Processor, or Dealer. The registration application costs $50 and can be found online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/Hemp%20PDFS/grower-registration-application.pdf.

“I think that it is great that we are using hemp because we should make use of every resource we have available, even if it comes from cannabis,” said Isaac DeGarmo, a CHS senior.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, “hemp” is no longer from the definition of “marijuana.” The bill also allows the state to have regulation over the hemp production.

Universities such as James Madison University,  University of Virginia, Virginia State University, and Virginia Tech have signed agreements to conduct further research on hemp.

Justin Farthing, business teacher said, “I think it has great usage and many positives to it.”

Governor Ralph Northam has said that the Appalachian Biomass Processing, in Wytheville, the first hemp fiber processing facility, will purchase over 6,000 tons of industrial Virginia-grown hemp in the next three years.

In the past year, around 2,200 acres of hemp in Virginia have been planted. That would be about 3000 football fields of hemp.

Hemp farmers may even be allowed crop insurance soon this year. Crop insurance is important for all farmers to protect their crops from unpredictable disasters.

A graduate of CHS, Logan Mills, who currently attends VT, is now one of the youngest licensed hemp growers in the Commonwealth at 18-years-old. He has been working with hemp at his parents’ Briar View Farms in Callands.

“I think that growing hemp in Virginia will benefit us by collecting more money and providing more jobs,” said Sally Haley, a CHS senior.