Industrial Hemp Is Latest Choice For Montana Farmers
Just think back 5 to 10 years. You very well might not have heard of Pulse crops back then, let alone Chickpeas and Lentils, but now Montana leads the nation in Pulse production with over 1.0-million acres planted in 2016. And by now you probably know of their high nutritional values, and the importance of dried beans and peas, and the other varieties of legumes to our state’s economy.
Thursday’s Voices of Montana was a big learning experience for me and opened my eyes to what might be the next Montana crop success story; a crop that is just in its infancy stages right now, much like the pulse crops were 10-15 years ago. However, this crop you have probably heard of, Industrial Hemp.
Justin Loch, Montana Farmers Union’s membership director along with Industrial Hemp farmers, brothers, Ross and Colby Johnson joined me Thursday to give me, and our audience, an update on the Industrial Hemp market in Montana. Both Ross and Colby, from the Conrad area, agree that Montana soil and climate is great for hemp production and both were pleased with their production last year. They told us they will be planting it again, in higher volume in early June of this year.
Justin Loch told us that Industrial Hemp is an emerging crop in Montana and is growing in popularity through a pilot program sponsored by the Montana Department of Agriculture. Montana Farmers Union has partnered with Hemp Genetics International to offer education and training for producers who are interested.
The next MFU informational workshop titled “Industrial Hemp 101”is in Glendive, June 13th. This will be an important meeting with North Dakota producers, who have been growing industrial hemp for the last two years, joining the workshop to give their opinions and knowledge on the Industrial Hemp industry. Currently 33 states are growing the crop. Another workshop is being planned for Western Montana soon.
For the entire Interview with lots of good information, you can listen to our Voices of Montana pod cast right here.