Friday, March 17, 2017

Pennsylvania State AG Department approves 16 industrial hemp research projects


The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture went through with 16 research proposals that intend to demonstrate the value and viability of industrial hemp cultivation in the state.
The projects were approved under the new Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.
According to a release, industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States and in PA through the World War II era but became regulated along with marijuana in the 1950s and 1960s, prohibiting its cultivation.
The 16 research applications approved Thursday propose projects in 15 different counties, including Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Schuylkill and Westmoreland.
The department still has to wait for approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in order to possess hemp seed needed for these projects.
A full list of the 16 approved projects by county, affiliated organization, and brief description follows:
• Allegheny/Westmoreland County, Commonwealth Alternative Medicinal Options (CAMO), to track seed and stalk yield, plant nutrients and general development under PA growing conditions.
• Armstrong County, Academic Sciences of Pennsylvania LLC, to compare seed quality and yield under different growing conditions (planting and harvest dates, nutrients, irrigation and spacing).
• Berks County, Rodale Institute, to evaluate potential benefits of industrial hemp as a cash or cover crop for weed control and soil health.
• Bucks County, Delaware Valley University, to compare four hemp varieties for plant height, seed yields, and insect presence under PA growing conditions.
• Centre County, Penn State University, to compare six varieties under different growing conditions (planting dates, seed densities, tillage regimens and nitrogen levels); track plant height, yield, disease and insect impact to develop draft production recommendations for PA.
• Dauphin County, Royal Beverage, LLC / Dba Orgaceutical Corp., to compare at least four cultivars growing under PA conditions
• Franklin County, Destiny's Agro Farm, Inc, to compare at least four cultivars for visual qualities, fiber content, and seed yields.
• Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council (Lehigh University), to isolate and identify hemp components with antimicrobial activity under laboratory conditions.
• Lehigh/Lycoming County, Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council (Lehigh University), to evaluate use of hemp for erosion control and phytoremediation of heavy metals; study absorption and distribution of contaminants within the plant.
• Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council (Lehigh University), to test plant material for use in biomanufacturing nanosheets as a matrix for quantum dots.
• Lycoming County, Global Industry Standard LLC, to measure invasive potential to spread to areas where it was not planted.
• Lycoming/Montour counties, Pennsylvania Hemp Company, LLC, to compare seed varieties under different growing conditions (sowing, harvesting, growth, wellness, and yield); explore fiber uses, seed use for culinary oil, and end-user markets.
• Mifflin County, Justben Agriculture, LLC, to compare five varieties for end use for human consumption and biofuel; stalk material will be pelletized for fuel or used for animal bedding.
• Berks/Lehigh/Montgomery County, GenCanna Global, Inc, to measure protein profiles, growth and yields under different growing watering conditions; study storage stability; and explore local processing options.
• Perry County, Perry County Land and Cattle Company, to measure weight gain in cattle with/without seed meal supplement; process seed into oil; use hemp stalks for cattle bedding.
• Schuylkill and Bedford counties, AgriLogic PA LLC, (Cheyney University, LehighUniversity), to track growth of fish (largemouth bass and rainbow trout) on diets with/without added hemp; compare weight gain, feed efficiency, protein digestibility, and fish health/nutrient proteins.

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