Industrial hemp is a versatile agricultural plant which could one day be a valuable crop option for Pennsylvania farmers. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has taken some important steps toward making that a reality. Following Governor Wolf’s signing of the Industrial Hemp Research Act, Number 92 in 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture launched the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program for the 2017 growing season. Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp legislation was sparked by the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, which gave federal permission for institutions of higher education or state Departments of Agriculture to research the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. As part of Pennsylvania’s Research Pilot Program, industrial hemp would once again be legally grown in the Commonwealth for the first time in 80 years. Through this program, the Department of Agriculture issued research permits to institutions of higher education and to persons interested in contracting with the Department to participate in the research of industrial hemp cultivation and marketing in Pennsylvania. In 2017, fourteen research permits were issued to twelve researchers, who cultivated industrial hemp in thirteen different Pennsylvania counties.






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