Possibilities with Hemp

by Russell Boone

Posted on Jul 14, 2020

Pictured are rows of Hemp growing at the University of Georgia's Industrial Hemp Field in Watkinsville, Georgia

Pictured are rows of Hemp growing at the University of Georgia's Industrial Hemp Field in Watkinsville, Georgia

In 2019, the Georgia legislature passed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (House Bill 213).

Once signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp, the bill legalized the processing, production, regulation and research of hemp grown for industrial purposes in the state.

In order to grow hemp, farmers must obtain a license from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA).

Hemp or industrial hemp, is a member of the cannabis family of plants, which includes marijuana. Prior to 1937, hemp was grown on a regular basis nationwide, but the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 greatly reduced hemp production. In 1970, under the Controlled Substance Act, hemp was declared illegal, shutting down any and all production.

The market is now open for licensed farmers to grow hemp for the production of certain products. According to Dr. James E. Brown, Fort Valley State University professor of horticulture and interim program leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources, it is vital that growers know the legal means of growing and cultivating the crop effectively.

FVSU is scheduled to conduct research to educate farmers about legally producing and growing hemp.

“We will be looking at ways to economically grow hemp that will be beneficial to the farmers,” said Brown. The horticulturalist explained it could involve either the use of seeds, cuttings or transplants to effectively grow the plant.

Brown said that before FVSU sends its Extension agents out in the field to inform their clients about growing hemp, research must be done to gather all pertinent information regarding the plant. This includes everything from learning the proper growing season, fertilization methods and proper soil to obtain optimum growing results.

One FVSU Extension agent said he has several clients in need of proper information regarding hemp.

“I have approximately 10 small farmers that are very excited about the opportunity to grow hemp,” said Charlie Grace, FVSU area Extension agent from Albany. “They have attended several trainings in and out of states already growing the crop like Kentucky and Arkansas to gain information on properly growing hemp. They also want to make the products produced from hemp, especially the CBD (cannabidiol) oils,” Grace said.

Other products produced from hemp include paper products, medicinal oils and clothing items.

Hemp’s illegality was reversed in the 2014 Farm Bill. This allowed the plant to be grown under pilot programs. The 2018 Farm Bill fully legalized the growing of industrialized hemp on the federal level and products derived from it.

For more information about FVSU’s Extension work with hemp, call Dr. James Brown at (478) 825-6296 or

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