State Plans Trip North to get Industrial Hemp Seeds
April 19, 2016
By – Associated Press – Friday, April 8, 2016
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A state Agriculture Department official is planning a trip north to get the seeds for North Dakota’s first crop of industrial hemp. Three farming operations in three counties will be determining this year whether industrial hemp can be successfully grown in North Dakota, under a federally approved research program.
Hemp produces fiber that can be used in products such as rope, paper and clothing, and also oil that can be used in food and health products. Production has been limited because federal drug law doesn’t differentiate between hemp and its cousin marijuana.
North Dakota issued the nation’s first hemp-growing licenses in 2007, but federal drug law hampered development of the industry in the state until Congress in 2014 allowed universities and state agriculture departments to research hemp in states that permit its cultivation.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration registered North Dakota’s Agriculture Department as a hemp seed importer last August. Plant protection specialist Rachel Seifert-Spilde plans a trip to the Canadian border in a few weeks to get the seeds, after getting federal approval for the actual imports.
Canada already has an established hemp industry. Seifert-Spilde is getting 1,775 pounds of hemp seed in 10 varieties from suppliers in that country.