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UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

Program Activities

The UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp project has obtained import and planting permits from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Seed and plant material has been acquired. First planting occurred in Spring 2019.

UF/IFAS has obtained funding to investigate the variety selection, cropping system, and invasion risk research objectives at Industrial Hemp Research Sites. That includes three production locations (7-10 acres each) and one environmental impacts location, with activities described in the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Research Plan. UF/IFAS is preparing an expansion to the research plan that will be funded through the Florida Industrial Hemp Endowment Fund.

Advisory Group

industrial hemp demonstration

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 UF/IFAS hemp program has 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 will meet regularly throughout the duration of the pilot project with the project coordinator to provide oversight for program activities and decisions.

Group members will also act as public representatives for the diverse interests and stakeholder groups relevant to the hemp industry in Florida. Group members will be 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.

Project Partners

Qualified project partners are individuals and groups that are formally affiliated as a collaborator with the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. These individuals and groups will be listed in the UF permits from FDACS (5B-57.013). Project partnership opportunities are available for grower and industry groups to participate within the existing UF/IFAS program research activities. At this time, partnership opportunities are being explored for on-farm trail participants and industry partnerships.

Industry partnerships with UF/IFAS differ substantially from farm-level hemp trial efforts as they involve discussions leading to mutually agreed upon proposals that satisfy the following:

  • ​Common Goals - A potential industry QPP needs to propose research and educational goals that align well with UF/IFAS Hemp Pilot Project objectives.  This includes varietal adaptability, production systems, pest control, in addition to student and other support.  A key factor with these goals is that such research needs 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 need to present a support plan that will assist with the funding of needed research by our hemp scientists.  Such funding is key to not only maintaining current pilot project research efforts, but also to expand 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 hemp@ifas.ufl.edu.

Project Sponsors

The UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project is currently funded primarily by industry support and private donations. Project Sponsors are acknowledged sources of that funding in demonstration of our appreciation.

Our first sponsorship initated our program and supports three broad program objectives:

  • hemp variety selection
  • cropping system development
  • production economics
  • invasion risk assessment

This work was launched in 2019 at three production locations (Quincy, Hague, Homestead) and one environmental impacts location (Gainesville). Each of the production locations will grow hemp in one to two acres for approximately 20 hemp varieties, and complete an economic assessment for regionally-adapted cropping systems. Further investigation of production systems, hemp performance at additional locations, high-CBD varieties, and inclusion of processing objectives 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 the future opportunities to establish a sponsored research agreement (i.e., research contract), you may send an email to hemp@ifas.ufl.edu Thank you to all the current sponsors of our program!