Pennsylvania hemp production is expected to increase from just 50 acres this year to possibly more than 5,000 in 2018, according to National Public Radio station 90.5 WESA. State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said that research at Penn State showed hemp crops could increase the productivity of existing farmland.
“Research … at Penn State [showed] that you can actually use industrial hemp as a double crop, behind wheat. I think if that plays out to be real, that is a game changer. You immediately change what options farmers have and you open up new markets.” – Agriculture Secretary Redding
The report comes less than a month after Vote Hemp released its U.S. Hemp Crop Report which found acreage of hemp crops more than doubled from 9,770 in 2016 to 23,346 this year. According to that report, just four states had lower hemp production than Pennsylvania last year – Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania did not grow a single hemp crop in 2016, the Hemp Crop Report indicates, but if hemp cultivation reaches 5,000 acres next year, they will outproduce every state’s 2017 output save for Colorado.
The deadline for individual growers and higher education institutions to apply to cultivate hemp in the state is Jan. 19.