INDIANAPOLIS — A milestone in Indiana’s journey toward growing industrial hemp was reached Jan. 5 when officials made plans for hemp research projects to be conducted at Purdue University.
Members of Purdue’s Industrial Hemp Research Team, the Indiana Hemp Industries Association and others discussed the parameters and intent of the 2015 industrial hemp pilot projects, which will be conducted pursuant to the 2014 farm bill.
Jamie Campbell, founder of the hemp association, said the law states that industrial hemp can only be grown by researchers from institutions of higher learning, upon Drug Enforcement Administration approval.
“Although final DEA approval is still pending, the (Office of Indiana State Chemist) anticipates approval very soon. Once the OISC receives this final approval from the DEA, the application process will open to those qualified to conduct research,” Campbell said.
The pilot project unfolding at Purdue will focus on varietal performance, economics of production and regulatory oversight.
Other relevant research projects being considered are related to energy, food, fiber, water quality, processing equipment and protocol, as well as value-added products.
Discussions are underway regarding sustainable development and commercial applications within the state.
In addition to Purdue’s pilot projects, a capstone class is being offered at the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“Agricultural and Industrial Business Ecosystem around Hemp” has been approved for spring 2015.
The purpose of the class is to explore, develop and recommend a comprehensive business ecosystem supportive of industrial hemp for use as a source of electricity, biofuels and value-added byproducts from the conversion process.
“The project scope encompasses seed development, agriculture, pre-processing, transport, manufacturing and distribution,” Campbell said.
“Indiana Hemp Industries Association hopes to make Indiana the cradle of this new industry. The Midwest’s successful history with hemp crops is returning at just the right time; it provides a sustainable, low-impact crop at a time when soil and water quality are top concerns within our state.
Further proof of industrial hemp’s progress soon will be evidenced in the American Farm Bureau Federation ?policy book.
Delegates at the annual convention in San Diego passed a resolution that will create a new section to the handbook, entitled “Industrial Hemp,” which will include the line, “We support the production, processing, commercialization and utilization of industrial hemp.”
Questions can be directed to Campbell via email at jamie@ inhia.org.
Erica Quinlan can be reached at 317-726-5391, ext. 4, or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.