Industrial Hemp Cultivation Taking Off in Oklahoma as State Gears Up for New Research OpportunityFri, 20 Jul 2018 18:05:51 CDT
Since the May 1st legalization of industrial hemp by the state legislature, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture has moved swiftly to provide a quick turnaround on the adoption of the necessary regulatory requirements needed to allow farmers time to sow the state’s first hemp crop before a narrow planting window closed. Already, ODAFF has seen tremendous interest with 17 license applications submitted to date, with more still anticipated. Based on the applications, there will be a large amount of both outdoor and indoor crops grown, including hydroponic systems.
“Actually, we’ve got a pretty diverse spread of the different ways to grow it which is what the whole intent was as a research project,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays in a recent interview. “So, I think there’s a lot of different planting practices and all the areas of the state are covered. I think we’ll come up with a lot of information from it.”
To learn more about the logistics of cultivating hemp, Reese has visited with agricultural leaders in other states. From those discussions, he says, most say it is a “money losing proposition” and is very time consuming given the mandatory testing that has to be done on plants to ensure they meet the lawful restrictions of THC levels.
“But, it’s a learning process,” he says, “and we’re going to plunge our way through it.”
Currently, Redlands Community College and Langston University are two institutions that have partnered with ODAFF as official licensees, but so far Oklahoma State University has opted not to apply yet.
“I think they’re waiting to see how it pans out, but they’re doing their share of research in agriculture through virtually all of our other crops,” Reese said. “So, I’m sure if it continues to grow - OSU will have a part in that.”
Listen to Secretary Reese’s full conversation with Hays, as he updates listeners on the current action in the state regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp.
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