The latest United States Department of Agriculture Farm Bill allows for the production of hemp throughout the United States. Historically, hemp was grown as a fiber crop for thousands of years and was once grown on large acreages in the United States. During this period, hemp was a major crop, and up to the 1920s, 80% of clothing was made from hemp textiles.
Hemp was largely displaced by cotton, partly because of the labor-saving invention of the cotton gin. Later in 1938, hemp production was banned altogether. Production was once again allowed for a brief period during World War II when the supply of hemp from the Philippines was cut off. The ban was again implemented after the war ended. Even though hemp has many uses, its use as an illicit drug in the form of marijuana has made its production problematic. With the development of low THC (the compound that causes people to get high) cultivars, hemp has once again become a potential viable crop for farmers.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has developed a Hemp Team to educate interested farmers and to research the growing of hemp in Alabama. For those wanting to learn more about this crop, the Hemp Team has a meeting planned in Cullman County Monday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at Camp Meadowbrook, 2344 County Road 747, Cullman. The meeting cost is $25. Attendees should pre-register and pay in advance at www.aces.edu/go/dealermeeting . Lunch and refreshments are included. Attendees may register at the door, but lunch may not be available.
Topics you can expect to be covered include basic growing information, greenhouse and field production, pest issues, weed control options and economics of production. The Department of Agriculture will explain the application process and fees involved in becoming a producer in Alabama.
For more information, call the County Extension office and speak with Tony Glover. Our number is 256-737-9386 or you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .