Category Archives: Farming

first meeting of the US House/Senate Conference Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill will take place tomorrow…

The long-awaited first meeting of the US House/Senate Conference Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5, at 9:30 AM. 

9 Senators and 47 Congressmen will sit down for the first time to try to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill, with the hopes of final passage by September 30, when the 2014 Farm Bill expires.

As summarized here, prospects are bright that the House will agree to the Senate’s hemp provisions, which would permanently establish hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act. 

Hemp’s most powerful advocate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has even taken the rare step of appointing himself to the conference committee to better ensure that the provisions he inserted remain in the final compromise.

However, Hemp Supporters can’t take anything for granted.  Please contact your Congressman TODAY.

Enter your zip code into our simple online portal here, and if any of your Members of Congress serve on the conference committee, an editable email will be populated for you to urge them to support hemp.  For those of your representatives who are not on the committee, the portal will prepare an email urging them to contact conference committee members in support of the Senate provisions.
Finally, our General Counsel, Jonathan Miller, will be on hand reporting LIVE from the hearing room via Facebook Live and Periscope.  If you would like to receive his live reports, or a video soon after, please follow us on Facebook here and/or Twitter here.

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U.S. Senate Votes To Legalize Hemp After Decades-Long Ban Under Marijuana Prohibition

Tom Angell , Contributor

The non-psychoactive cannabis cousin of marijuana would finally become legal to grow in the United States under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.

The wide-ranging agriculture and food policy legislation known as the Farm Bill, passed by a vote of 86 – 11 on Thursday, contains provisions to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp.

The move, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would also make hemp plants eligible for crop insurance.

“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell said in a floor speech on Thursday. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”

McConnell also took to the Senate floor on Tuesday and Wednesday to tout the bill’s hemp legalization provisions in separate speeches.

In April, the GOP leader introduced standalone legislation to legalize hemp, the Hemp Farming Act, the provisions of which were included in the larger Farm Bill when it was unveiled earlier this month.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved the bill by a vote of 20-1 two weeks ago.

During that committee markup, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), one of Congress’s most ardent opponents of marijuana law reform, threatened to pursue serious changes to the bill’s hemp provisions on the floor. Namely, he wanted to remove the legalization of derivatives of the cannabis plant, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which is used by many people for medical purposes. But Grassley never ended up filing a floor amendment, allowing hemp supporters to avoid a contentious debate and potentially devastating changes to the bill.

Hemp legalization enjoys broad bipartisan support.

“Legalizing hemp nationwide ends decades of bad policymaking and opens up untold economic opportunity for farmers in Oregon and across the country,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said upon passage of the Farm Bill on Thursday. “Our bipartisan legislation will spur economic growth in rural communities by creating much-needed red, white and blue jobs that pay well. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to get the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act through the Senate. Today marks a long-overdue, huge step forward for American-grown hemp.”

BIG news for industrial hemp farming! Today, the Senate passed my bipartisan #HempFarmingAct, legislation that would lift a decades-old ban on growing industrial hemp on American soil. #RonReport pic.twitter.com/r0fBzseRIh

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 28, 2018

Earlier this month, the Senate approved a nonbinding resolution recognizing hemp’s “growing economic potential.”

“For the first time in 80 years, this bill legalizes hemp. We forget, but hemp was widely grown in the United States throughout the mid-1800s,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said in a floor speech on Wednesday. “Americans used hemp in fabrics, wine, and paper. Our government treated industrial hemp like any other farm commodity until the early 20th century, when a 1937 law defined it as a narcotic drug, dramatically limiting its growth. This became even worse in 1970 when hemp became a schedule I controlled substance. In Colorado, as is true across the country–I have talked to a lot of colleagues about this–we see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.”

McConnell’s standalone hemp bill currently has 29 cosponsors signed on—17 Democrats, nine Republicans and two independents.

A Congressional Research Service report released last week says that the “global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products.”

House Republican leaders blocked a vote to make hemp legalization part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill. But now that the language is included in the version approved by the Senate, it will be part of discussions by the bicameral conference committee that will merge both chambers’ bills into a single piece of legislation to be send to President Trump’s desk. All indications are that McConnell, as the most powerful senator, will fight hard for the survival of his hemp proposal.

A White House statement of administration policy released this week outlining concerns with the Farm Bill does not mention its hemp legalization provisions.

In 2014, McConnell included provisions to allow limited state-authorized hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner cheered the passage of the new hemp provisions on Thursday..

For farmers across KY, there is no piece of legislation more important than the #FarmBill. I am excited that @SenateMajLdr’s #HempFarmingAct made it into this measure, which will allow states to unleash the full economic potential of our industrial hemp pilot programs. #KyAg365 pic.twitter.com/HjU6OGKNjZ

— Commissioner Quarles (@KYAgCommish) June 28, 2018

Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Follow Tom on Twitter for breaking news and subscribe to his daily newsletter.

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RELATED:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3530/text?format=txt

http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/industrial-hemp-farm-bill-mcconnell/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_Farming_Act_of_2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_in_Kentucky

Congressional Republicans Block Votes On Hemp Amendments

Published 2 days ago on May 16, 2018 By Tom Angell

In the latest development in a series of anti-cannabis moves, congressional Republican leadership has blocked consideration of several industrial hemp amendments.

Supporters were seeking to attach the measures to the large-scale Farm Bill, which sets food and agriculture policy for the country, but the House Rules Committee on Wednesday decided that the proposals cannot be considered on the floor.

The anti-cannabis chairman of the panel did, however, reveal that a broader deal for industrial hemp might be in the works.

One of the measures the committee killed, submitted by Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, would have legalized hemp and made it eligible for crop insurance.

“Hemp is a crop with a long and rich history in our country,” Comer said in introducing his amendment before the committee. “It was grown by many of our founding fathers.”

Comer, who is a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said his state’s existing industrial hemp research program, which is authorized under a previous Farm Bill enacted in 2014, “has been a great success.”

He also spoke about the economic potential of the plant. “Times are tough in rural america,” he said. “For rural Kentuckians, industrial hemp has provided a new crop and business opportunity.”

But in a party-line move, the committee voted 8 to 3 to reject a motion to add Comer’s amendment to the list of proposals approved for floor consideration.

Another hemp amendment, filed by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO), would have removed hemp from the list of federally banned substances.

A third proposal, submitted by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), sought to create “a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to hemp legitimate businesses” that operate under state-authorized research programs.

“There is a proud history in American and in Kentucky [for hemp] as an agriculture product,” Barr said when testifying for his amendment, noting that it can be used in over 25,000 products.

Under current law, banks that work with legitimate hemp companies “fear reprisal from federal regulators,” Barr said, arguing that his proposed measure would protect financial institutions “from unnecessary interference from bank examiners and regulators” and give producers rights that “every other American crop enjoys.”

The committee did not hold specific votes on those two measures.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has made a consistent practice of blocking cannabis measures from advancing over the past several years.

Sessions, seemingly mistakenly, told Comer during the Wednesday hearing that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has “a clause…that industrial hemp should be declassified under their Schedule I drugs, which they concur, which is the position you hold, too.”

A hemp lobbyist told Marijuana Moment in an email that he had not heard of the DEA taking a pro-hemp position.

Polis, who as a Rules Committee member made the unsuccessful motion to let the full House vote on Comer’s amendment, argued that hemp is a “common sense area” that enjoys bipartisan support. The measure, he said, would simply “treat industrial hemp as the agricultural commodity that it is.”

While Sessions and other GOP panel members were not swayed, the chairman did hint just before the vote that there may still be hope for hemp reform, saying that the issue would be “determined by an agreement that would be reached” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

McConnell last month filed a hemp legalization bill, which Comer’s amendment closely modeled. Fully a fifth of the Senate is now signed on as cosponsoring that legislation, and the majority leader has already announced plans to attach his hemp language to the version of the Farm Bill being considered by the Senate this month.

While it is unclear what exactly Sessions was suggesting when he referred to an “agreement” with McConnell, it may have been a reference to the conference committee process that will merge the House and Senate’s respective versions of the Farm Bill into a single proposal after each chamber passes its legislation. If McConnell succeeds in attaching hemp legalization to the Senate bill, it would then be up for consideration as part of the final legislation sent to President Trump for signing into law.

In 2014, McConnell successfully inserted a provision to prevent federal interference in hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.

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  RulesReps  Streamed live on May 16, 2018                            Rules Committee Hearing for May 16, 2018.

Indiana House votes to allow Hoosier farmers to grow cannabis plants with low THC

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The Indiana House voted unanimously Wednesday for a bill that would allow Hoosier farmers to grow industrial hemp — marijuana’s low-THC cousin.

Under Rep. Jim Lucas’ House Bill 1137, acres of the green leafy plants could be intermingled with rows of corn across family farms in Indiana. Currently only researchers at institutions are allowed to grow the plant, and are unable to do so for commercial purposes. Only Purdue University researchers are growing the product in the state.

The provision could see some push back in the Senate, or from individuals like Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has been outspoken against marijuana legalization.

The Indiana House and Senate appear to be on the same page when it comes to legalizing cannabidiol, a product derived from hemp. However, permitting the growth and manufacturing of hemp would take its legalization a step further.

Many senators were already reluctant to vote for a bill last year that legalized CBD oil for epileptic patients. That measure passed by a 36-13, compared to the unanimous vote in the House.

► More: Holcomb: Indiana stores can continue to sell CBD oil while lawmakers work on fix to law

► More: Indiana takes small step toward legalizing medical marijuana as House votes to study issue

Proponents say House BIll 1137 is a “jobs bill” and could lead to economic growth, while opponents worry about the legality of growing a plant with some similar properties to marijuana.

“Everything I’ve seen says industrial hemp is probably a harmless crop,” Senate leader David Long said. “I have no problem with that, I’m just not sure the federal government issue isn’t still holding us back.”

The federal 2014 farm bill allows states to permit the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes. Kentucky already has a broad industrial hemp pilot program, similar to the pilot program Indiana would begin with this piece of legislation.

Under Kentucky law, farmers can apply for a permit to grow and manufacturer industrial hemp and sell it for various products, such as CBD oil, hemp seed oil and fiber for car manufacturing.

The farm bill permits “marketing research” but also says hemp shouldn’t be grown “for the purpose of general commercial activity.”

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says its program follows federal law, but others in the industry aren’t so sure.

“There’s been no research that I’ve seen directly,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue professor who studies hemp. “It’s sort of a big wink: ‘Oh yea we’re doing research.'”

Indiana would face the same legal question if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.

The passage of the law could also be another step towards marijuana legalization, in the eyes of some social conservatives. Already the Indiana House unanimously passed a resolution to study medical marijuana, a unprecedented move for the GOP-led chamber.

The average Hoosier would be unable to differentiate between industrial hemp or marijuana, Beckerman said. Both are leafy and green and both can have a potent smell.

Industrial hemp, however, can’t get users high.

She also said someone could easily hide a marijuana plant in a field of hemp.

Despite legal concerns, Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture has pegged its program as a success. In 2017, Kentucky handlers grew 3,200 acres of hemp in 74 counties. 

“Because of the research conducted by our growers, processors, and universities, I am more optimistic than ever that we can put industrial hemp on a path to widespread commercialization once Congress removes it from the federal list of controlled substances,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a press release.

Hemp experts say the product could have the same potential in Indiana, once farmers figure out how to properly grow the product.

Indiana is already seen as an agriculture leader and is one of the top 10 agriculture producing states.

“In the long term I think it’s something that will allow our agriculture base to diversify and that’s always a good thing,” Beckerman said. “I think there’s a possibility of different industries developing from this.”

For example FlexForm Technologies, an Elkhart company, manufacturers mats and panel products. Currently the company has to import hemp. That could change if Indiana farmers start growing the product.

Another company, Healthy Hoosier Oil, could use the cold press seed processing they already use to make sunflower seed oil, on hemp seeds to create a food-grade oil.

CBD oil manufacturers could also start using in-state hemp to make their products.

Another issue lawmakers and lobbyist acknowledge they’ll have to solve is educating the public enough to understand the difference between the two plants.

“Industrial hemp has been misaligned with marijuana for the past 70 years or so,” said Justin Swanson, representing Indiana Hemp Industries Association. “It’s time for Indiana’s actions and policies to reflect the fact that industrial hemp is not marijuana and allow the reemerging market to thrive in Indiana once again.”  CONTINUE READING…

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at (317) 432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

Fresh crop: Wilson among Kentucky’s new hemp farmers

Chad WilsonChad Wilson of Cave City stands next a row of industrial hemp he is growing on his farm called the Sacred Seed Farm. He is growing hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, which is extracted from the plant and can be used to treat certain illnesses. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times

BY GINA KINSLOW gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com

CAVE CITY – Seven years ago, Chad Wilson was anti-industrial hemp, but that’s mostly because he didn’t really know what it was. He thought industrial hemp and marijuana were the same thing.

But they’re not. Industrial hemp is different from marijuana, even though they are part of the same plant family.

“All my life I was told to stay away from the Devil’s lettuce, and that’s what I did as a good southern boy,” he said. “I didn’t understand that hemp wasn’t marijuana.”

The major difference between the two is that industrial hemp contains a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than marijuana.

THC is the hallucinogenic that is found in marijuana.

“There is no getting high off industrial hemp,” he said.

After seven years, Wilson has come a long way. He has gone from being anti-industrial hemp to being an industrial hemp farmer. He is also now a cannabis activist.

He grows hemp on land in Cave City he calls the Sacred Seed Farm, and says he got into industrial hemp farming by accident.

“I was doing organic farming on a little two acre plot in Bowling Green. I realized my son did not know how to grow his own food and seeds. At that point I was just doing traditional gardening, so I got into finding ways to teach him and stumbled across some stuff on hemp and the nutritional value,” he said.

Then he discovered that studies are showing an extract of industrial hemp can be used to aid in the treatment of certain illnesses, even epilepsy. He also learned that industrial hemp can be used to make biodiesel fuel and clothing, among other things.

Wilson planted a little more than nine acres of industrial hemp this year. He is one of two hemp farmers in Barren County, and one of many across the state.

“In order to be a hemp producer, it is a permitting process and that process is handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in cooperation with law enforcement so that everybody is on the same page. They know where every hemp production is,” said Chris Schalk, Barren County’s Agriculture Extension Agent. “I guess this is probably the second or third year for the permitting process.”

The federal farm bill of 2014 allowed state departments of agriculture to create industrial hemp research pilot programs.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted a roundtable discussion for Barren County producers in October at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service’s office off West Main Street, and during his talk he mentioned industrial hemp.

“Industrial hemp obviously gets a lot of publicity. We have a very strong industrial research hemp program here. We want to remind people that this may not be a silver bullet for tobacco, but it might be something that works for some farmers. It may not work for others,” he said. “My family used to grow it in World War II because the government asked them to for the U.S. Navy. For some people we believe this could be a profitable market.”

On Wilson’s Sacred Seed Farm, he grows industrial hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, a natural plant compound with significant medical benefits.

Wilson is co-owner of a Louisville-based business called Green Remedy.

“We buy the hemp from the farmers and then we take it into our facility and we have a CO2 extraction where we extract the CDB and then we make the tinctures and the capsules and the isolets and all the different kinds of products, and it is a Kentucky Proud Product,” he said.

Wilson is also owner of another business called Modern Concepts, which is located on the Sacred Seed Farm in Cave City.

“This is about a 4-year-old business that I moved from Bowling Green because I wanted to get back to small town America. I wanted to get back to country living and back home to the country,” Wilson said. “We’re losing farm families every day across the state and my family was one of the ones who lost their farm in the early ’80s due to the economics of farming. For me, it’s personal and it’s about getting my boys back to the farm and living simpler.”

Modern Concepts is a garden supply center that will offer organic, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponicly grown plants.

“We’re also a distributor for a “Shark Tank’ product – the Tree-T-Pee. What we’re doing is basically going out and finding the specialty product for this industry and bringing it to Cave City,” he said.

Industrial hemp farming has become an economically viable business for many producers.

“There’s not a lot crops out there right now that can bring the economic hope to the small Kentucky farm like this plant can right now,” Wilson said.

Despite all the things industrial hemp has going for it, it is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, along with other varieties of cannabis. But that is something U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, is hoping to change.

“I have a bill that I’m working on … that will address all of the updates that are needed with the hemp industry. And that’s the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017,” Comer said.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 will do a lot of things, but the main thing it will do is reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agriculture crop.

“That will solve a lot of the problems right there,” he said.

Comer, a former Kentucky commissioner of agriculture, referred to industrial hemp as being “a huge success story.”

“That’s something I was glad to be a part of in a big way and that’s kind of the issue that I’m identified with. When we passed it in 2013 in Kentucky, nobody would have predicted that here we are four years later and we are the leading hemp producing state in the nation,” he said. “It’s just been a real good success story. There’s a lot of hemp being grown in Kentucky. A lot of companies that are coming into the state are making a big private investment, so I think the future looks very bright for the hemp industry in Kentucky.”

Extracting CDB from industrial hemp is not the only thing that can be done with the plant.

“It is being used as fiber in textiles. It is being used as a heavy duty fiber in a lot of the tarps that is used in the military. We’ve got companies trying to use the fiber to make components for the automotive industry for mainly the dashboards and door panels for cars in Europe,” Comer said

Industrial hemp is also being grown for livestock feed.

“Murray State University is doing a lot of research on hemp from that aspect because it yields so much more per acre than fescue hay,” he said. “And they are testing the digestibility and the nutrient content. Cattle eat it. That’s for sure.”

Comer continued that he thinks more and more uses will surface for industrial hemp because it is a plant than can be used in so many ways.

“It can be used in bioenergy. It can be used in textiles. It can be used in pharmaceuticals. It can be used in construction. There seems like for every potential use of hemp there is interest in companies to come into the state and make an investment and start processing the hemp here in Kentucky, which would be good,” he said. “It would be good for farmers. It would be good for job creation.

“I think that once we can get legislation on the federal level that deregulates hemp, I think you’ll see more private dollars flow in and more processing facilities come online and therefore more farmers will grow it.”

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A Kentucky-based hemp seed grower is the first company to have its seeds approved and officially certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

 

 

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Blair Miller

DENVER – A Kentucky-based hemp seed grower is the first company to have its seeds approved and officially certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Lexington, Kentucky-based Schiavi Seeds LLC had three separate seed varieties certified as CDA Approved Certified Seeds under the new program, which aims to promote hemp agriculture in the state.

CDA has worked with CSGA and Colorado State University over the past several months to breed plants that produce seeds under the 0.3 percent THC content threshold to qualify as hemp and not psychoactive marijuana.

Varying seed types were grown and tested in trials in different parts of the state in order to find ideal conditions for hemp cultivation.

Colorado law requires industrial hemp seeds to contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Three trial seeds from Schiavi Seeds – Eletta Campana, Fibranova and Helena – passed trial tests and were accepted by the state Seed Growers Association’s review board.

CDA says seeds submitted by Fort Collins-based New West Genetics have also passed the THC trial, but still have to be accepted by the review board before they can also be labeled as a CDA Approved Certified Seed.

Congress approved hemp production in 2014, but a state certification like Colorado’s is necessary to raise the crop.

Colorado farmers will be able to start buying and growing the seeds next year.

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Commonwealth of Hemp: Kentucky continues to sow seeds of industrial crop’s resurgence –

Posted on March 21, 2016
by Dan Dickson

Illustration by Catherine Nichols

Illustration by Catherine Nichols

Select Kentucky farmers will be growing more hemp in 2016 than at any time since the federal government effectively banned the crop in the 1930s, along with its hallucinogenic cousin, marijuana.

This year, 144 farmers and 10 universities across the state will engage in the third year of pilot research projects in the state that many hope will lead to full restitution of hemp as a commercial fiber, feed and pharmaceutical agent.

“We anticipate over 4,000 acres will be grown in Kentucky this year, which is more than four times the number of acres grown last year,” said Ryan Quarles, the recently elected state agriculture commissioner.

In fact, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture says about 4,500 acres of hemp will be grown for the projects this year, up from 900 acres last year and just 33 acres during the inaugural planting season in 2014.

Permission to grow the crop on an experimental basis is authorized under special language inserted into the federal farm bill by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. Quarles said industrial hemp, once a major Kentucky farm staple, is highly marketable and hopes Congress will one day see it that way and legalize it.

“As long as it is grown and cultivated as part of a pilot program, it can be transported, processed and sold across state lines,” said Jonathan Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Council. “Each year, the Kentucky projects are getting bigger, more elaborate and more successful.”

Miller said that whether it’s this year, next year or three years from now, he’s confident Congress will “take hemp off the Schedule 1 drug list so it can be turned into an agriculture commodity and we won’t have to deal any more with pilot programs.”

Farmers, producers unite

Josh Hendricks, a Montgomery County farmer, will be growing hemp again this year. He has formed a company, Hendricks Hemp, to be ready for the day he can freely sell his crops anytime, anywhere.

“We are still trying to figure out what varieties grow well here in order to produce whatever you want to produce from a hemp plant, whether it is fiber, grain or CBD,” short for the medically useful compound cannibidiol, said Hendricks.

Since Kentucky growers must align themselves with a processor or manufacturer before they enter the hemp pilot program, Hendricks has become affiliated with C.V. Sciences, a California producer of dietary and health products. The company  currently imports hemp from Europe but wants a dependable domestic source and hopes Kentucky and Hendricks will be its prime supplier.

Although Hendricks acknowledges that a farmer would need to grow a considerable number of acres of hemp for it to be highly profitable, he hopes the pilot program will explode into something big.

“We want to see hemp become like any other agriculture commodity in Kentucky,” he said. “I hope it will become something that will put money in the pockets of our farmers. You want to be able to say you have domestically grown, U.S.-grown, Kentucky Proud hemp for sale.”

Research remains focus

University of Kentucky hemp researcher David Williams says the state’s pilot programs focus on production science or production and management protocol to optimize crop yields. UK is a participant in the program and will be growing hemp.

A history lesson, courtesy of Williams: The main uses for hemp a century or more ago are quite different than how it could be used today.

“In the old days it was a major component of rope and heavy linen,” said Williams. “Prior to the invention of steam engines, ships were wind-powered, and the sails were made of hemp cloth. The major recipient of Kentucky hemp then was the U.S. Navy for its ships’ riggings and the sails. Neither of those components is viable today.”

However, Williams says the loss of these old industrial markets is being met by modern needs and technology that provide exciting new possibilities. Among the new applications about which Williams is most excited is the potential for hemp fibers to be a component of injected, molded composite products such as the interior door panels of automobiles or the overhead compartments of airplanes.

“The list is almost unlimited, including bathtubs, furniture and much more,” he said. “If those industries move toward replacement of synthetic fibers with natural fibers, hemp could contribute to that significantly.”

Caution amid wild optimism

Would the legalization of industrial hemp bring a windfall to Kentucky farmers and others? The enthusiasm for reigniting the industry has brought with it outsized hopes that Williams suggests are unlikely to be realized. Instead of a massive cash crop, Williams says, hemp is more likely to be more useful in rotation with other crops.

“I don’t want the public to expect a financial boom. I think that’s an unrealistic expectation,” Williams cautioned. “Realistically, we might think of hemp becoming part of the normal rotation. It won’t replace any of our current crops. Even if the market is highly significant, we still have to grow crops [and raise animals] for food.”

In other words, hemp would have to compete with other farm commodities in the state. The top 10 Kentucky farm commodities are: poultry, livestock, corn, soybeans, cattle and calves, tobacco, dairy products, hay, wheat and pigs. Devoting acreage to hemp instead of another proven commodity might be a gamble, at least for now.

“It would be very difficult for me to imagine that that would be economical,” said Williams.

Quarles, the new state agricultural commissioner, said his great-grandfather grew hemp in Kentucky while his son, Quarles’ grandfather, fought in World War II.

“That was a common story in Kentucky then,” said Quarles. “The federal government actually asked farmers to grow it for the war effort.”

– See more at: http://bizlex.com/2016/03/commonwealth-hemp-kentucky/#sthash.N1uIMFUv.dpuf

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Washington Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Legalization

By Julia Granowicz – Mar 16, 2016

washington-govenor-vetoes-industrial-hemp

Industrial Hemp has been illegal in the United States as long as its THC producing twin – and the plant has over 100 known uses as cloth material, as a cooking oil, and it was once a fundamental part of our country. While we see a lot surrounding the reform of laws for THC producing marijuana, the industrial plant doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

Lawmakers in Washington recently passed a bill (unanimously in the House of Representatives and 48-1 in the Senate) which would have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp plants for research purposes. It would also be setting up a program to keep track of the plants and allow Washington University to study the plant.

Unfortunately, after making it through both sides, the bill never stood a chance because the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, decided to issue a large batch of vetoes in what appears to be a form of punishment since lawmakers have yet to settle on a budget.

“Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said in a written statement.

“I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. I continue to hope legislators will focus on negotiations and reach agreement as quickly as possible.”

This did not go unnoticed by those in the Farm Bureau who have been waiting and hoping for this bill to pass. As well as calling out the Governor on an “overstepped power play” and claiming that he failed to “be the grown-up in the room”, they also prodded at the Governor’s own opinions about saving the environment by saying he wasted all the fuel and electricity invested in the passing of these bills when he vetoed them.

“Our current governor continues to show an uncanny ability to drive a wedge between his office and legislators,” according to the Farm Bureau.

While it was clearly disappointing to many people throughout the state of Washington, the bill will likely have a second chance in the current 30 day session. Seeing as it passed through with ease the first time, the second should be a breeze as well. However, if they do not also pass a budget during this next 30 days, who is to say Inslee will not simply make the same move again?

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Declaration on Seed Freedom

  1. Seed is the source of life, it is the self urge of life to express itself, to renew itself, to multiply, to evolve in perpetuity in freedom.
  2. Seed is the embodiment of bio cultural diversity. It contains millions of years of biological and cultural evolution of the past, and the potential of millennia of a future unfolding.
  3. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every form of life and is the basis for the protection of biodiversity.
  4. Seed Freedom is the birth right of every farmer and food producer. Farmers rights to save, exchange, evolve, breed, sell seed is at the heart of Seed Freedom. When this freedom is taken away farmers get trapped in debt and in extreme cases commit suicide.
  5. Seed Freedom is the basis of Food Freedom, since seed is the first link in the food chain.
  6. Seed Freedom is threatened by patents on seed, which create seed monopolies and make it illegal for farmers to save and exchange seed. Patents on seed are ethically and ecologically unjustified because patents are exclusive rights granted for an invention. Seed is not an invention. Life is not an invention.
  7. Seed Freedom of diverse cultures is threatened by Biopiracy and the patenting of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. Biopiracy is not innovation – it is theft.
  8. Seed Freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all. Seed Freedom of farmers is threatened when after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmer for “stealing their property”.
  9. Seed Freedom is threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable self generative resource to a non renewable patented commodity. The most extreme case of non renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology” developed with aim to create sterile seed.
  10. We commit ourselves to defending seed freedom as the freedom of diverse species to evolve; as the freedom of human communities to reclaim open source seed as a commons.

To this end, we will save seed, we will create community seed banks and seed libraries, we will not recognize any law that illegitimately makes seed the private property of corporations. We will stop the patents on seed.


Click here to sign the declaration

Click here to download a PDF

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Monsanto to face ‘tribunal’ in The Hague for ‘damage to human health and environment’

Published time: 5 Dec, 2015 06:08

© Mal Langsdon

A global group of professionals, scientists and environmentalists – the Monsanto Tribunal – are preparing a trial for the GMO seed giant in The Hague. They say the crowdfunded action, determined to charge Monsanto with “ecocide,” is more than a symbolic move.

READ MORE: Putin wants Russia to become world’s biggest exporter of Non-GMO food

The Monsanto Tribunal’s goal is to research and evaluate all of the allegations made against Monsanto in connection to all the damages its products have caused to human health and the environment. It is scheduled to be held at The Hague from October 12 to 16 in 2016. The trial will wrap up on next year’s World Food Day.

One of the main goals the broad group of signees [ABOUT US] wants the tribunal to achieve is establishing “ecocide” as a crime. “Recognizing ecocide as a crime is the only way to guarantee the right of humans to a healthy environment and the right of nature to be protected,” The International Monsanto Tribunal says on its website.

The Tribunal will look into a range of charges, including what it says are Monsanto’s crimes against nature and humanity.

“The Tribunal will rely on the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ adopted at the UN in 2011. It will also assess potential criminal liability on the basis of the Rome Statue that created the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2002, and it will consider whether a reform of international criminal law is warranted to include crimes against the environment, or ecocide, as a prosecutable criminal offense, so that natural persons could incur criminal liability.”

Several bodies and groups are supporting the initiative, including the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya, Regeneration International (RI), and Millions Against Monsanto, as well as dozens more farming and environmental groups.

The decision to proceed with the tribunal was announced by the groups shortly before the Sustainable Pulse report was published, which was part of the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change that runs until December 11 in Paris.

“The time is long overdue for a global citizens’ tribunal to put Monsanto on trial for crimes against humanity and the environment. We are in Paris this month to address the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100-200,000 year evolution—global warming and climate disruption,” the president of the Organic Consumers Association, Ronnie Cummins, said at the press conference.

Meanwhile, president of IFOAM and member of the RI Steering Committee Andre Leu accused Monsanto of ignoring the human and environmental damage created by its products. Leu added that the transnational is able to maintain its devastating practices “by lobbying regulatory agencies and governments, by resorting to lying and corruption, by financing fraudulent scientific studies, by pressuring independent scientists, and by manipulating the press and media.”

“Monsanto’s history reads like a text-book case of impunity, benefiting transnational corporations and their executives, whose activities contribute to climate and biosphere crises and threaten the safety of the planet,” Leu stressed.
The American-based company has enjoyed a good reputation in the US media and is known for its strong ties on Capitol Hill.

The Monsanto Tribunal argues that the company is responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction, and declining biodiversity, as well as the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide.

Farmers in certain countries have been taking these developments very hard. In India, an alarming wave of suicides tied to Monsanto’s practices has been registered among farmers.
Instead of traditional crops, farmers have been forced to grow GM cotton, which is more expensive and requires additional maintenance. In the last 20 years, this trend has driven some 290,000 farmers to commit suicide due to bankruptcy, according to India’s national crimes bureau records.

READ MORE: GMO that kills: GM-cotton problems drive Indian farmers to suicide

Subjecting Monsanto to real legal consequences will be a challenge, though, as the corporation has never lost a case.

The company is notorious for routinely suing farmers, which has earned it the reputation of a legal bully in the eyes of critics. According to Food Democracy Now, the GMO corporation has filed 145 lawsuits since 1997, because farmers had reused their seeds in a manner inconsistent with Monsanto policies. This even includes cases where the farmers themselves had sued Monsanto for the inadvertent cross-pollination of their organic crops with GMO seeds.

One lawsuit representing 300,000 farmers was thrown out of court – for the mere reason that the farmers had already been sued by Monsanto. According to Food Democracy Now, the judge called the farmers’ case “unsubstantiated.”

Untold damage has also been caused to the ecosphere by the dying-off of 970 million Monarch butterflies since 1990. The herbicides Monsanto sells eradicate a range of the prolific pollinators’ natural food sources. The statistic was released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in February.

READ MORE: Monsanto monarch massacre: 970 million butterflies killed since 1990

People demonstrated in over 400 major cities across the world in May to tell the GMO giant they do not want its produce in their food. It was the third global March Against Monsanto (MAM).

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