Governor Wolf Highlights Hemp Opportunities For Pennsylvania Farmers

While visiting a hemp farm in Blair County, Pennsylvania recently, Governor Tom Wolfe and Agriculture Secretary Russel Redding talked about new opportunities for hemp growers and processors in the state.

“Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a new and in-demand market for hemp,” said Governor Wolf. “This is a versatile product with many uses, and it’s a product that consumers want.”

So far in 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has approved more than 300 hemp growing licenses which are being utilized on nearly 600 acres at more than 800 different sites.

Licenses were awarded to any applicant who passed an FBI background check and had a valid address.

Thirty-three permit holders grew approximately 580 acres of industrial hemp in 2018; the second year that the crop had been grown in Pennsylvania after being banned for around 80 years.

On July 1, Governor Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Farm Bill which will create a state-level Specialty Crops Block Grant Program to encourage the farming of high-priority crops such as hemp.

To be eligible for the program, projects have to enhance a specialty crop’s competitiveness by efficiency, distribution, or research to boost consumption.

“Hemp is a new, old crop that has the potential to make a big impact on Pennsylvania’s agricultural—and economic—landscape,” said Secretary Redding. “It’s a crop with both a rich history and a bright future here in the commonwealth.”

Hemp was an integral part of the founding of Pennsylvania, with Lancaster County serving as a major hemp producer in early America.

Hemp was grown legally in Pennsylvania until it was regulated along with all other cannabis varieties in the 1930s.