Mo. — After nearly a century, the state of Missouri is once again looking at hemp as part of its agriculture.
The growth is being tested in several facilities across the state.
Prior to the prohibition of hemp in the 30s, Missouri was one of the top several states growing hemp.
In June 2019, Governor Mike Parson signed a bill to allow the plant to be researched once again.
Superintendent of the University of Missouri, David Cope, is taking care of the research.
“We’re tasked with growing some demonstration plots of hemp to see how they would act in certain parts of the state,” said Cope. “We’ve got four different varieties of fiber hemp. This is not to be confused with hemp used for CBD or even medical marijuana.”
Hemp has less than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, however, the state of Missouri is looking more into the industrial use of the plant.
They estimate there are over 50,000 uses for hemp in a wide variety of products.
It could be used in things like rope, cloth, or bioplastics, but that won’t be a factor in Missouri until it is tested.
Since Governor Parson didn’t approve of testing until June, researchers got a little bit of a late start.
“They were planted in July. One of the things we did learn is it flowers due to sunlight, Cope said. “It’s not able to get as tall and as bushy, and that stalk isn’t able to get as big before it starts flowering and going into the reproduction cycle due to the sunlight each day.”
Cope says that hemp will face some of the same challenges other crops do, but he expects many to get good use out of it.
“It’s still going to take a lot of work to get the final product. It’s just another method that folks can try to use to be productive and profitable in a farming operation.”
The University of Missouri is testing several different types of hemp in different parts of the state.
Next year they plan to plant in the spring to get data on a longer growth cycle.