North Dakota has had a law on the books to support producing industrial hemp since 1997, but it wasn’t until the 2014 Farm Bill, that states were allowed to begin growing.
Renée Cooper spoke with one of the first four growers in our state.
Clarence Laub added growing hemp to his farming resume in Elgin as early as 2016.
The Farmer/Rancher explains, “It is a pilot program, so we are doing research with it. We are also marketing it and stuff like that, making money off of it. But the main purpose of the program is research, so we’re looking at adapting it into our farm and our farming practices.”
Laub says hemp is a very versatile crop.
He adds, “The seeds are very healthy for you: they can crush them for the oil, and also for the protein powders and stuff like that. And then the entire plant is useful too, the fiber and different things you can get from the plant, you can use hand-in-hand for paper products. So anything that’s made out of paper, you can make out of hemp.”
But because it looks very similar to it’s cousin, marijuana, hemp is highly regulated.
The Federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the cultivation, processing, distribution and even the possession of industrial hemp, except when used for research purposes.
And the Agriculture Commissioner must oversee the process.
As the law stands, before hemp can be sold, the seed has to be devitalized and the plant tested for THC content.