A college in Florida has obtained approval to grow hemp.
On Wednesday, April 14, the College of Central Florida (CCF) announced that it had received approval from the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry to cultivate industrial hemp.
CCF says it will grow the hemp at its Vintage Farm Campus in Ocala.
The college says it will utilize hemp cultivation as an educational tool through the CCF Agribusiness program, complementing its existing livestock facilities and fruit, vegetable, greenhouse, and nursery production.
For hemp production, the program will focus on seed germination, soil, water, nutrient, and light requirements as well as proper pruning techniques, pest management, harvest, and curing.
Program Manager Tavis Douglass says that adding the hemp curriculum to the CCF Agribusiness program was a natural fit due to the school’s unique Vintage Farm Campus facilities and statewide interest in the Florida hemp industry.
“Because hemp is a relatively unknown crop in our climate, not much is known of how it will perform,” says Douglass. “Therefore, we will be testing and growing plants under various growing conditions. Additionally, our program will focus on hemp products that may have use in agricultural sectors such as our local livestock and equine industries.”
CCF says it will design its curriculum based on cultural practices, compliance navigation, and marketing of harvested raw hemp materials.
The college currently offers an Associate in Science degree in Agribusiness Management, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Organizational Management Agribusiness Specialization.
CCF says both programs are unique to the Florida State College System.
The college also offers certificate programs in Nursery and Landscape, and Livestock Production Management.
As an introduction to industrial hemp, CCF says that it will offer a short-term noncredit course or lecture for the community in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022.
People interested in more information about CCF agricultural programs can contact Tavis Douglass via email or by phone at 352-584-2322, extension 1737; or Dean of Business, Technology, and Career and Technical Education Dr. Rob Wolf at extension 1281.