BEATRICE – Area producers were getting a chance to learn more about hemp, as an alternative crop, at a forum held in Clatonia, Friday. A bill is advancing through the Nebraska Legislature to allow growing of industrial hemp in the state.
Sponsored by Senator Justin Wayne, LB 657 has been named by State Senator Tom Brandt, of Plymouth, as his priority bill. His Legislative Assistant, Camdyn Kavan, says LB 657 is expected to come up for final approval next week. He said an amendment offered to the bill has eased some concerns of the state’s attorney general.
Kavan says the bill has the emergency clause attached, so if passed and signed by the Governor, it could take effect immediately.
Colin Fury, a coordinator of the Midwest Hemp Forum held at the Clatonia Community Center, says industrial hemp as an alternative crop is growing.
:38 “that works for them”
Fury says hemp is a great rotation crop. Various parts of the plant can be used in the food industry, medicine, building materials and the automobile industry, among others. Hemp was included in the 2018 farm bill and taken off the list as a schedule-one substance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Nebraska Department of Agriculture would establish regulations for growers. In Kansas, hemp production has already been legalized.
Fury says the industry has had to deal with some false information forwarded by groups concerned about it leading toward marijuana legalization.
:46 “in this state”
Producers heard from various experts, including a Canadian producer appearing by the internet. He said in 2016, Canada exported about $130 million in hemp products.