FREMONT – According to the USDA, the first crop of industrial hemp in Nebraska was grown right here in Fremont in 1887. Now, 132 years later, hemp farming is trying to return to our agricultural landscape.
Hemp farming got hit with prohibition in 1927 and, despite partial decriminalizations, farming of the commodity ended in this state. Now legal once more, many farmers throughout the state are interested in adding this sustainable crop to their fields. Today, the Midwest Hemp Forum hosted a Hemp Farmers Forum in David City, showcasing presentations from farmers currently growing hemp, local harvesting equipment experts and processors.
Last Friday, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced that they are now accepting applications for the state’s Hemp Licensing Program. Each applicant must be FBI/Nebraska State Patrol background checked before consideration for a hemp growers’ license, and the window for application is narrow. Complete applications, including those background checks, must be received by NDA by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 28.
This is frustrating for many potential growers, according to Colin Fury with the Midwest Hemp Forum. “We’ve heard from a number of local farmers from Shelby, David City, Duncan – who have said that they have gone in and taken part in the [background checks] and they’ve been told that they won’t hear back for 3 to 5 days,” said Fury. “So there’s some frustration about there only being five business days allowed [to obtain licensing] for hemp growing, harvesting and processing.”
Fury and the Midwest Hemp Forum are hopeful that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will issue an extension on that deadline, so that potential farmers have a little more time to get their background checks completed.