The summer season has been a time of deep learning and engagement for the IHGA team. We kicked off our summer field trips with an enriching open house at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
This gathering was a valuable platform for professionals, students, farmers, and enthusiasts to delve into the latest in small-scale hemp production practices. It was wonderful to see the community (and a few IHGA members!) come together eager to absorb ongoing research, explore the hemp breeding nursery, learn about different varieties and ongoing agronomic trials. Hands-on experiences like pruning hemp, cloning plants, and handling various hemp fiber products and building materials were particularly impactful.
Dr. Lee is doing excellent work selecting grain varieties for high yield. He believes that yields over 2000lbs/acre are a realistic goal and a strong endorsement of hemp's potential as a specialty crop.
The IHGA has been supporting hemp research at UIUC since 2020 and we are proud to have been co-sponsors of the open house this year. We look forward to seeing how Dr.Lee's trials pan out this season and to continuing our support for this vital research. If you want to learn more about his work and offered programs, check it out here.
Later in the month, I travelled to Great Falls, Montana to attend the invite-only Montana Summer Hemp Summit hosted by IND Hemp. The gathering was a melting pot of industry professionals, growers, and innovators, fostering an atmosphere of collaborative learning as well as professional networking.
The summit's agenda was rich with a variety of topics in agronomy, processing, products, marketing, and legislation. Each session was led by insightful speakers whose depth of knowledge and dedication to the industry was truly inspiring.
I had the privilege to connect and reconnect with numerous industry players and was humbled to to spend time getting to know some of the most fierce and passionate women in the hemp industry.
My visit to the IND Hemp fiber and grain processing facilities was an absolute highlight. Standing amidst the expansive operations, I was struck by the potential for our farmers back in Illinois. This was my first time touring a processing facility for fiber or grain and I found myself a little emotional! I am very much looking forward to the day when processing like IND is available to my farm and community and will continue to push on for that day!
The crux of our conversations during this trip revolved around the Industrial Hemp Act of 2023. This critical piece of legislation will carve out specific guidelines for industrial hemp fiber and grain, independently from cannabinoid hemp. It upholds the current regulatory path for cannabinoid hemp and proposes a unique framework to stimulate industrial hemp's expansion.
Being immersed in these dialogues and being among dedicated industry peers rallying for this legal advancement was a truly impactful and motivating experience. I'm proud to say that we have already engaged with our Reps and I encourage everyone to learn more and take action by using this advocacy platform. It only takes a few minutes and it will help shape a more sustainable and prosperous future for this amazing new industry!
Keep your eyes open for more IHGA adventures and updates ~