Senate Bill 516 would allow farmers to grow hemp in Indiana

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Senate Bill 516 could have farmers in the Hoosier state growing more than just corn and soybeans as legislators work to legalize hemp.  

The bill has passed in the senate, with an amendment added that would criminalize the sale of hemp flower and hemp vape.

Hemp is already grown in Indiana according to Midwest Hemp Council co-founder Jamie Campbell Petty, but for research purposes.

“Purdue has been growing small amounts of acreage since 2015,” she said.

With this bill any farmer can get in on this new cash crop, but they have to do their research first.

Sympossiums and non-profits like the Midwest Hemp Council and the Indiana Hemp Industries Association can help educate farmers on the crop, but they also need to work closely with professors at Purdue.

“You do need to be working with a professor this year at Purdue to sign off on your research,” said Petty.

Once the research is done, farmers must apply for a license with the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.

And with a hemp growing license, family farms like Kegan Knust’s farm will be able to grow the crop.

“It is very profitable but it’s labor intensive,” said Knust. “So if you had the time to do it, then you would in essence be making more money per acre than what you would with corn or soy beans.”

Knust says hemp could be a gateway crop for farmers trying to get their foot in the door.

“Trying to start in farming is really really difficult. I was fortunate enough to have family to help me along,” he said. “But for somebody that doesn’t have, like a first generation farmer, I think this would be a great idea for them.”

Knust wants fellow farmers to keep an open mind on the subject of hemp, and Petty is encouraging farmers to do their resarch before diving in plow first, “We’re encouraging them to start being educated now, follow us through this year and prepare for 2020.”

A hemp sympossium will be held for farmers on March 23 at Franklin College, for ticket sales and information click this link.

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