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Have Hemp Plan for 2020, Don’t Play With It

Hemp leaves grown at Hampshire Farms in Kingston, Michigan. Photo: Ashley Davenport
Hemp leaves grown at Hampshire Farms in Kingston, Michigan. Photo: Ashley Davenport

One crop scout in Michigan seems to think hemp is going to be a viable alternative for producers in 2020.

Christie Apple, agronomist, has worked with many farmers, and she’s finding most of them have had a positive experience in 2019.

“This year has been an interesting adventure supporting farmers as they dabble in the industrial hemp industry,” she said. “We have everything from your traditional cash crop farmer trying an acre of ground that was preventative plant all the way to the smaller operations that are doing a lot more handwork in the fields.”

Apple thinks there’s great opportunities for hemp to become part of the commodities grown in Michigan.

“It’s definitely a crop you’re going to have to educate yourself on and partner with people that know what they’re doing before you explore if that’s going to suit your cropping system,” she said. “It’s not something I suggest you play around with.”

The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp production, and Michigan started a pilot program, registering and licensing more than 500 growers who planned to plant more than 32,600 acres and 423 processors.