17 December 2016

The Bismarck Tribune reports…

The 70 acres planted this year were part of a pilot research project to determine whether the crop could be successful in North Dakota.

And according to the department, early results look promising. Producers gave positive feedback on yields and profitability, as well as the growing potential across a range of soil types. The fields may also be good for honey production, with many bees seen buzzing about.

Growers encouraged the state to continue the program.

The pilot, funded with registration fees and general funds, is open to applications again for 2017.

But a $64,000 budget enhancement to cover lab testing fees, travel, public information, and other operating expenses wasn’t included in the governor’s budget, program coordinator Rachel Seifert-Spilde.

She said staff members will put in the extra hours to keep things running without the extra funds. The department may have to go to the Legislature to request an increase in the program participation fee to cover the cost of THC testing, the tab for which was previously picked up by the state.

Hemp can be used in products such as rope, paper and clothing, and crushing it produces oil for soaps and lotions.

Production is limited, since federal drug law doesn’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Only universities and state agriculture departments are able to conduct hemp research.

North Dakota’s agriculture department was registered as a hemp seed importer in 2015. Growers whose applications were approved were supplied with Canadian hemp varieties.

Profits per acre ranged from $507 to about $868 per acre in Benson County. Yields ranged from 895 pounds per acre to 1,266.

Clarence Laub harvested about 5,000 pounds from his family farm near Elgin and planned to sell the oil and flour under the Laub Farm label at a seasonal embroidery and gift store at Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck.

Proposals from growers for this year’s program are due at 5 p.m. Jan. 31. Seifert-Spilde said preference will be given to proposals that build off the prior year’s research.

Full Report: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/hemp-program-heads-into-second-year/article_d5e01564-6f27-54c7-b8ce-85d2e35bd9d4.html

North Dakota Department of Agriculture Press Release & Contact Information

Participants sought for 2017 industrial hemp pilot program

Submitted December 12, 2016

BISMARCK – Participants are being sought for the second year of North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s industrial hemp pilot program.

“Industrial hemp may only be grown in North Dakota through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s pilot program or by institutions of higher education,” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “We are currently seeking applicants wishing to participate in the department’s pilot program for the purposes of agricultural or academic research.”

A provision in the 2014 farm bill gives authority to state departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes. Participants planted 70 acres of hemp in 2016, the first year of the program.

Applicants must submit a project proposal application and request for seed (if applicable). Proposals will be ranked by a committee appointed by the agriculture commissioner.

Applicants chosen will be required to submit a notarized application, signed memorandum of understanding, fingerprints and associated fees.

Applications and instructions can be found at http://www.nd.gov/ndda/program/industrial-hemp.

The deadline for proposal documents is 5 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Emailed or faxed submissions will not be accepted.

Research proposals will be date stamped when received. All received research proposals will remain unopened until February 1, at which point all proposals will be opened and reviewed.

Goehring said applicants needing more information should contact the Department of Agriculture’s Rachel Seifert-Spilde at 701-328-4128 or rseifert@nd.gov.