The UF/IFAS Hemp Research & Extension Program (formerly known as the UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project) obtained seed importation and (research) planting permits from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). New and varied seed and plant material continue to be acquired by the Program faculty. The first field planting of hemp in Florida occurred in Spring 2019
Under the federal and State of Florida Hemp Pilot Project authority, UF/IFAS obtained funding to investigate the variety selection, cropping system, and invasion risk research objectives at key Industrial Hemp Research Sites. These included three production locations (7-10 acres each) and one environmental impacts location, with activities described in the 2019-2011 UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Research Plan. UF/IFAS is preparing an expansion to the research plan that will be funded through sponsors including USDA, FDACS, and industry in addition to the support from those contributing to the Florida Industrial Hemp Endowment Fund.
UF/IFAS experts lead a demonstration at the Everglades Research and Education Center. In the foreground are potted industrial hemp samples. | UF/IFAS photo
The 2019-2021 UF/IFAS hemp Pilot Project selected an advisory group of 14 members representing diverse backgrounds in farming, research, business, law, and medicine. Group members were nominated during the UF/IFAS hemp program Fall 2018 workshops, and completed a survey about their background and vision for hemp in Florida. The advisory group met regularly throughout the duration of the two-year pilot project effort with the project coordinator providing oversight for program activities and decisions.
Group members will also acted as public representatives for the diverse interests and stakeholder groups relevant to the hemp industry in Florida. Group members were chosen to represent the diverse interests and backgrounds of the hemp industry, with a commitment to the transparent approach and collaborative tone of the program.
Industry partnerships with UF/IFAS differed substantially from farm-level hemp trial efforts as they involved discussions leading to mutually agreed upon proposals that satisfied the following:
- Common Goals - A potential industry QPP needed to propose research and educational goals that aligned well with the 2019-2021 UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project objectives. This included varietal adaptability, production systems, pest control, in addition to student and other support. A key factor with these goals is that such research neededs to be open science with UF/IFAS Hemp Team faculty having the ability to publish results.
- Support for UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project - Industry interested in partnering with UF/IFAS needed to present a support plan that assisted with the funding of needed research by UF/IFAS hemp faculty. Such funding was key to not only maintaining the pilot project research efforts, but also for expanding hemp knowledge for the benefit of all growers and industry in Florida.
Any industry with a place of business in the State of Florida interested in formally partnering with the UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualified Project Partners (QPPs) as defined by FDACS rulemaking were individuals and groups that were formally affiliated as a collaborator with the 2019-2021 UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. These individuals and groups were listed in the UF permits from FDACS (5B-57.013). Project partnership opportunities were available for grower and industry groups to participate in the existing UF/IFAS program research activities.
The 2019-2021 UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project was funded primarily by industry support and private donations. Project Sponsors are acknowledged sources of that funding in demonstration of our appreciation.
The first sponsorship for the 2019-2021 UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project initiated research and outreach efforts and supported four broad program objectives:
- hemp variety selection
- cropping system development
- production economics
- invasion risk assessment
This work was launched in 2019 at three UF/IFAS production locations (Quincy, Hague, Homestead) and one UF/IFAS environmental impacts location (Gainesville). Each of the production locations grew hemp in one to two acres approximately 20 hemp varieties. Further investigation of production systems, hemp performance at additional locations, high-CBD varieties, and inclusion of processing objectives will require additional sponsors.
Interested sponsors can donate to the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Endowment Fund. If you're looking for further information about sponsorship or future opportunities to establish a sponsored research agreement (i.e., research contract), you may send an email to email@example.com Thank you to all the current sponsors of our program!