Hemp production in Indiana jumped from 15 acres in 2018 to nearly 3,000 acres in 2019. 2019 was still a “research year” for around 100 farmers as SB516, or the “Hemp Bill”, didn’t make it through the statehouse until early May. Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner Dr. Bob Waltz told HAT back in May that he was anticipating anywhere from 700-1,000 hemp licenses to be issued in 2020.
Mark Boyer, a hemp grower from Converse, IN and a member of the Indiana Hemp Advisory Committee, says there might be a wrinkle in that plan as there is a holdup now with the Food and Drug Administration accepting Indiana’s hemp plan.
“The state is ready to move forward with this plan. It’s just been the FDA dragging their feet. So, we had high hopes going into 2020, it just is not looking like it’s going to come to fruition. However, there will be hemp grown in Indiana albeit, again, for research.”
Boyer will join Waltz, Purdue Hemp Specialist Marguerite Bolt, and Midwest Hemp Council President Justin Swanson Tuesday at 1pm at the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo to answer questions and clear some things up about hemp production.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of misnomers involving hemp production, and the growing of hemp, and the market of hemp. We’re going to see what we can do to clear some of those out…hemp is very exciting. I think that maybe the potential is there, if we can build these markets, that hemp can possibly, down the road, became a viable option as a rotational crop with our corn and soybeans here in Indiana.”
One message that Boyer hopes to convey to potential growers on Tuesday is that he would love to see new producers come on board, but they need to know what they’re getting into.
“Don’t plant, or even consider planting, more acres than your particular operation can afford to completely lose. At this point, the markets are so sketchy, and this crop is so difficult to grow, I would say you’re more likely to end up in the red than you are the black.”
Again, Boyer and crew will speak at the seminar stage at 1pm Tuesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Check out the full seminar schedule at indianafarmexpo.com.