Illinois Extension Held Hemp Field Day


Phillip Alberti, ILLINOIS Extension Educator – Freeport, Illinois

Andy Houston, Farmer – Roseville, Illinois

This week USDA rolled out national regulations for hemp production in the United States. Production of the crop was legalized in Illinois this year and farmers are learning how to raise it. Earlier this fall, as Todd Gleason reports, ILLINOIS Extension hosted a hemp field day near Roseville.

About 200 farmers showed up on Andy Houston’s farm. He has hemp growing in the field. It looks like Christmas trees. He also has it potted in a greenhouse. Houston, a corn and soybean farmer, admits the hardest thing about growing hemp is the lack of information.

“Right now what we are doing is trying to learn techniques already used in Colorado and Oregon and seeing how they adapt in Illinois. We are also using some of our own techniques learned over my farming career and seeing how they work growing hemp, too. Right now there are just a lot of unknowns in hemp. That’s the hardest thing about it. It is so new. There is so much left to learn,” Houston states.

Hemp has not been grown as a cash crop since the end of World War II. The varieties and cropping conditions have changed and there is very little university research. That’s ramping up right now even as field days like this one are happening says ILLINOIS Extension’s Philip Alberti.

“I would say that, yes. We are still as a university starting to put together a team going into 2020. We have a lot of work to do and some years to do it,” shares Alberti.

Out-of-the-gate, then, researchers and farmers will both be racing to figure out the best management practices and working hand-in-hand to navigate the brand new hemp regulations released this week by USDA.

***Report Courtesy of the University of Illinois Extension***

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