Centre County to be included in statewide hemp research
STATE COLLEGE - A few years ago, the federal government changed its regulations that allowed people to do research on industrial hemp.
The state passed legislation last year that made that possible in Pennsylvania.
On Friday, the Department of Agriculture announced that 16 teams from across the state were approved to conduct studies on the plant. Penn State Professor Greg Roth is the head of one of those research teams.
“One of the great things about this is that we will be able to communicate with other farms,” said Roth. “Researchers can share our thoughts and that will help us get a handle on what needs to get done pretty rapidly.”
In previous years, hemp was banned because of its resemblance to marijuana. But the plant doesn’t contain any THC, the chemical in the plant that makes people high. It does however, have a wide range of other uses, like plastic alternatives, feeding cattle, and even fuel. But there is still a lot they need to know about the plant.
“A few things we need to look at are what varieties are adapted,” said Roth. “There are a lot of varieties of hemp.”
Researchers will not get the seed until April, but they will plant it in May. In August they hope to have a full-grown plant to conduct more studies on through next fall.