Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) has licensed 152 growers, 59 processors and five universities to grow, cultivate, process and research industrial hemp in 2019.
“We have had a significant interest in the Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program from potential growers and processors since the availability of applications was announced in January,” said ADAI Commissioner Rick Pate. “We’re encouraged after our initial meetings with the approved growers and processors that the first year of the pilot program will provide opportunities for the agriculture industry in Alabama.
“It’s never easy to start a program from scratch, but our staff is committed to make this program work, giving farmers in Alabama an opportunity to diversify and grow an alternative crop,” he said.
Individuals and businesses must be licensed by the ADAI to grow or process hemp in Alabama. Under laws passed by the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress, it’s unlawful to possess raw or unprocessed hemp, hemp plants or hemp seed without a license.
To assist growers in the inaugural growing season, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is training regional Extension agents Rudy Yates and Brandon Dillard. Contact Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dillard at email@example.com.
Guests at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 47th Commodity Producers Conference in Chattanooga can also tour a hemp farm and hear a panel discussion with hemp regulatory, research and farm representatives. Register for the conference, which is Aug. 1-3, at AlfaFarmers.org by June 14.
Learn more about the Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and view the list of licensed growers, processors and universities at tinyurl.com/AlabamaHemp.