Investigating an Emerging Crop for Florida Growers
The University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Hemp Research & Extension Program aims to support the future viability and sustainability of the hemp industry through assessment of the crop, cropping systems, and their ecological and economic impacts. The UF/IFAS Pilot Project was initially funded back in 2017-2019 by industry support. UF/IFAS has also partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to research crop nutrient applications to help improve crop production and protect Florida’s water resources. The initial UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project was approved by the Board of Trustees at the University of Florida back in 2018 and was permitted in 2019 for cultivation. Research with hemp in both field and controlled environments continues at multiple UF/IFAS research facilities across the state in addition to on-farm efforts with project partners. Grower Education activities are also being offered, both virtually and in-person at UF/IFAS and industry-sponsored events.
Industrial hemp is a Cannabis sativa plant that has been cultivated for 10,000 years as a fiber and grain crop with modern applications for textiles, building materials, seed oil, and essential oil. It is not marijuana as it contains total THC that does not exceed 0.3 percent per dry weight. THC is the psychoactive chemical that at higher levels defines marijuana.