The Rodale Institute has started a new industrial hemp research project focused on examining the crop’s role in soil health and regenerative organic agriculture. Proclaimed as the nation’s leading organic farming research institution, Rodale is overseeing one of 16 pilot projects to grow industrial hemp in Pennsylvania, the first legal cultivation of the crop in the state in 80 years. Jeff Moyer, executive director of Rodale Institute, said the project could provide the “opportunity to expand farmers crop rotation while helping farmers combat weed pressure, improve soil health, and sequester carbon.” Rodale Institute is conducting a four-year research project focusing on utilizing Industrial Hemp as a cash or cover crop to address weed pest issues and enhance soil health in organic agriculture. They are conducting two field trials and one greenhouse study. The research aims to identify which varieties of hemp will be effective for future use by organic farmers to manage weed pests and enhance soil health.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.
From: Rodale Institute
Rodale Institute Industrial Hemp Research Project
What role can hemp play in soil health?
In 2017, Rodale Institute’s research project was one of 16 projects that received a permit for the inaugural planting of hemp in Pennsylvania in more than 80 years, as part of the PA Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. Industrial hemp, a versatile plant grown for its fiber, seed or oil, was a valuable cash crop and a major industry in Pennsylvania for more than 260 years. Due to its close relationship to the marijuana plant, hemp production became a casualty of a 1933 law banning marijuana and was later named a Schedule 1 drug by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. However, changes made to the 2014 Federal Farm Bill now allow for hemp to be grown for research purposes by the PDA or an institution of higher education.