The North Carolina Hemp Commission has received an opinion from the state attorney general’s office to allow them to license farmers who want to obtain industrial hemp seeds from another state, according to a report from Southeast Farm Press. The memo allows farmers approved under the state’s pilot program to source domestic seed for their first crops. Why is this move necessary – why all the trouble? The answer – because our friendly neighborhood DEA seeks to block any import of hemp seeds from Europe or Asia.
Sandy Stewart, vice chairman of the Hemp Commission and director of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Research Stations Division, believes farmers should begin planting their first crops sometime very soon now that it is legal to obtain hemp seeds from another state. Farmers who participate in the program must work with either North Carolina State University or North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to meet eleven research objectives outlined by the state statute. North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission licensed farmers who want to reach out to other states to obtain hemp seeds.
“We’re doing this so we can learn more about the crop.” stated one farmer. The farmers and the Universities share vast amounts of data to better understand hemp cultivation. Some North Carolina farmers have seeds and are ready to plant. For example, Hertford (cultivator White Hat Seed Farm) has already obtained seeds from Kentucky and hopes to sell seeds from the pilot crop to other North Carolina farmers working with the program next year. White Hat is growing 40 acres of the certified Italian variety Carmagnola Selezionata.
Andrea Schiavi of Schiavi Seeds and cultivator of Carmagnola Selezionata says the seeds will be perfect for North Carolina, not only because of the complementary growing climate but because their seeds are bred to have a THC level of under 0.2 percent, guaranteeing it will meet the 0.3 percent limit in North Carolina.
As expected with any cannabis related program, the regulations on growing industrial hemp seed are strict and heavily mandated. All crops planted will be subject to testing of THC levels by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
All farmers agree that future expansion of the pilot program will establish North Carolina as a leader in agricultural hemp production. Industrial hemp and hemp products will begin to find their way into mainstream America as we learn new uses for hemp as medicine, paper, fuel, plastics, textiles, etc.
We will be keeping a close eye on the progress and information that is generated by the partnership between North Carolina farmers and North Carolina Universities.