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  • Writer's pictureIHGA

Harvest and Celebrate With Us!

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

September is rolling along and harvest time has begun in the Midwest. We have been receiving harvest photos from our members, visiting farms and field days, and have harvested our own hemp, too. This year we have seen more grain and fiber varieties planted and harvested than in years before and more interest in working with those varieties in general. From genetics, harvesting, and processing, composites to building materials, soil remediation and carbon capture, plant based foods to livestock feed, individual trials to university research, hemp fiber and grain are becoming hot topics in various industries outside of hemp and cannabis.

Efforts to narrow down the varieties best suited for specific regions are going strong despite the lack of infrastructure and market opportunities. We hope to see that change in the near future with smaller opportunities for industry growth and innovation at the local level popping up and bigger picture opportunities like the Budget Reconciliation of 2021, also known as "The most important opportunity in 20 years to secure billions of dollars for agricultural conservation and climate solutions!”

We would love to see and hear about how your harvest went this year and any insights you picked up this season- a thread has been started on the forum to post those stories and celebrate those victories in a shared space. We are also looking forward to hearing all about your season and seeing you in person at our 3rd Year Anniversary Celebration and networking event later this month...


Celebrate 3 years of the IHGA on Saturday, September 25th!

After 3 years of growing hemp, the IHGA, and the IL hemp community we are excited to be hosting this networking event and membership drive in our hometown of Princeton, IL. We will be spending the day at the Chapel Hill Golf Course and Events Center and lunch will be available with Flo's on Pulaski.

The event will feature

  • tournament prizes

  • raffles & giveaways

  • cash bar

  • food truck with hemp foods

  • live music

  • special guests: the Chillinois Podcast & author of the Cannabis Advocate, Mary Ann Loncar

  • educational opportunities ...and more to be announced!

This will be an excellent opportunity to mix & mingle with Illinois hemp growers, processors, business owners, & industry leaders and to learn more about industrial hemp and the industry's potential.

We have some fabulous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes for the tournament and lots of goodies in the lineup for raffles and giveaways - more to be added soon! We are also very excited to announce that we will have IHGA hemp t-shirts and hemp frisbees for sale that day - both made in the USA! Thanks go out to Vital Hemp, iHemp Manufacturing, and to our partner Rachelle Wilkin for helping us with screen printing.

Take a peek at what we have in store!

Click here to learn more about our venue, prizes, tickets, & event schedule.

We want to thank our generous event sponsors for their contributions to making this day possible and to our prize packages: iHemp Michigan, Midwest Hemp Council, US Hemp Building Association, Fresh Press Paper, Prairie State Hemp, pHat Bottom Labs, and the Chapel Hill Bed & Breakfast!

While you are here we hope you have the opportunity to check out some of the very charming features of our historic town. Between the Art District shops and cafes, Main Street restaurants and pubs, the Farmer's Market, the Red Covered Bridge, the Lovejoy Homestead (once a stop on the Underground Railroad), and Starved Rock State Park along the route from Chicago, there is something extra special for everyone to take away from their visit with us.


We are thrilled to be part of NHA's message to President Biden to make the case for investment in hemp infrastructure to revitalize rural communities, mitigate climate change and create American manufacturing jobs!


MHC's Fiber Forum and Field Day

Rachel had a great time representing both the IHGA and the US Hemp Building Association at Midwest Hemp Council's Fiber Forum and Field Day on August 30th in Martinsville, IN. We applaud the MHC crew and their outstanding ability to bring together movers and shakers in the hemp industry!

Our display of hemp fiber materials and products is always a hit. Be sure to check it out for yourself at our event on the 25th!


Hemp Build 2021

On September 9th and 10th the US Hemp Building Foundation and the USHBA hosted Hemp Build 2021 to raise funds for ICC Certifications that will get hemp building accepted into building codes. Rachel was MC for speakers on the Health and Environment Track, including Katie Poss of Turner Construction Company who presented on the Carbon Footprint Assessment of hemp building materials.

Donations are still being accepted! Every dollar counts and pushes the USHBF closer to their BIG Goal of raising $100,000 to get hempcrete in building codes, creating a quality hurd supply chain in the US, teaching tradespeople how to build with hemp, and educating communities.


Our Harvest

Growing this year was as exhilarating, inspiring, and rewarding as ever thanks to the experience and support we had to build on since last season. Interest in hemp fiber and grain is gaining momentum across the US and we are proud to be participating in variety trials at a grassroots level.

Our main goal for this year was to have as much hemp seed as possible and to learn how to sort, clean, and store it at a small scale. Our secondary goal was to have stalks to experiment with.

We decided to scale up our growing space based on what we learned in our dual crop trial last year and used a low-till method to work up a little under 12,000 sq feet of soil in 2 sections, one 1000 sq foot trial plot and one 1/4 acre trial plot. . This season we planted two varieties from International Hemp, Henola and Bialobrzeskie. Both varieties were grown according to Certified Naturally Grown standards and were fertilized with bone meal, blood meal, and On Mother's Day weekend we went out to broadcast plant Henola, a grain variety, in the 1/4 acre trial plot using a simple seed broadcaster.

Though we planted on the heavy side it wasn't dense enough keep grass down - we think this is likely because we did not plant early enough to out compete it! We have decided not to harvest this crop. Instead we will crimp it down and allow it to provide nutrients to our soil and our cover crops.

Two weeks later we planted the Bialobrzeskie, a dual-purpose variety that worked well for us in the 1000sq ft trial plot. On average the plants grew to between 5-7 feet but the tallest plants grew to about 10 feet tall. We hand broadcast this time and had great stand come up with good weed suppression.

We decided to focus on grain over fiber for this trial. Hemp grain is harvested when around 80% of the seed is ripe and while we did hit that mark we were hoping to harvest closer to mid September when the percentage would be higher. That did not happen and this year's harvest started abruptly with the arrival of large flock of American Goldfinch letting us know it was time to get to it! We had everything harvested, separated, and stored over the last weekend of August. Though we did not harvest the stalks at technical maturity we still got a lot of great material to experiment with for long fiber.

Both varieties were attractive to a variety of wildlife - deer, birds, insects, and rabbits were frequently spotted and flushed out on visits. Neither variety seemed to suffer from pest or pathogen issues, though we did see a fair variety of insects while growing and at harvest. We used companion planting to keep potential pest damage down - marigold, zinnia, and sunflower were all effective and beautiful in the shared space.

We are happy to report that we have improved on both our methods and yield and would call this year a success. We are looking forward to working with growing again next season!


Illinois Hemp Grant & Business Pitch Competition

Be sure to check out this grant opportunity presented by our sponsors, Midwest Hemp Coalition - the deadline to apply is Sept. 20th!



We will wrap things up with a listing of events that will educate and inspire you in the coming weeks and months. Do note that many of these events have virtual options. Be on the lookout for more updates via our newsletter and social media posts. If you are a member with an event to share, be sure to tag us or send us a message and we will help get the word out.

September 25

Join the IHGA and the IL Hemp Community for a day of friendly competition, networking, education and industry updates at the 3rd Year Anniversary Celebration & Disc Golf Tournament in Princeton, IL.


October 16

Save the Date for Hemp Days at McHenry County College, hosted by the Center for Agrarian Learning.


October 29

USA CBD Expo at McCormic Place in Chicago.


November 8-10

Catch Rachel at the Hemp Grower Conference in Orlando, FL! She will be joining the panel on Organic and Sustainable Farming Practices & Certifications For Small and Large-Scale Farmers.


November 14-16

The NIHC is proud to present its second annual business summit, a remarkable event bringing together the hemp industry’s leading business, legal, & regulatory figures.


December 1-3

Register now for Midwest Hemp Council's HATC 2021 in Plainfield, IN!


January 21-22

Join iHemp Michigan at the Midwest iHemp Expo as they bring together the leaders of the growing industrial hemp industry to map out the future, develop the supply chain for hemp to industry, and discuss the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.


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