Local farmers attend ‘The 850 Hemp Summit’


MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB)–Hundreds of farmers from across the Panhandle gathered in Jackson County Wednesday to learn about the future of hemp farming.

“Hemp is an incredible commodity, a fiber that can be made into the estimates are over 25,000 products,” said Kristin Dozier, a Leon County Commissioner.

In 2018, the production of hemp for industrial purposes was legalized. But still, a common question remains, what is hemps relation to marijuana?

“Hemp and marijuana are the same family but hemp has no THC which is the part that gets you high, and that is the biggest distinction,” Dozier said.

Since hemp is such a new industry, there’s a lot to be learned. Agricultural professionals spent the day educating local farmers on what they know so far.

“This opportunity allows the University of Florida/IFAS to talk about the hemp pilot project, our early science and what we’re seeing both out in the greenhouse and in the field,” said Jerry Fankhauser, the Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.

Attendees had the opportunity to discuss their challenges, concerns, and tips for the industry.

“There’s a lot more research, there’s a lot more questions that need to be asked and answered as we move forward and this the beginning,” Dozier said.

While farming hemp is still so new, those who spoke had a clear message. It can boost our economy in more ways than one.

“From cloth to paper, building materials, it can be used for livestock feed, this is a product that could really create jobs from the farms to the factory and beyond for our region,” Dozier said.

Those planning the summit said their main goal is to get small farmers to consider breaking into this new and exciting industry.

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