With hemp bill signed, is there a market in Ohio?

Larry Limpf

To mark the new law that decriminalizes hemp in the state, the Ohio Department of Agriculture placed hemp plants in the ground Thursday at the department’s campus.
Dorothy Pelanda, the department director, said Senate Bill 57, signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine last week, directs the department to plant hemp for research purposes and allows for the creation of a hemp program to be administered by the department.
The law also establishes a licensing structure for farmers who are interested in growing the crop and those interested in processing it.
Adam Sharp, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, said the farm bureau was pleased that the state legislature passed the bill.
“Industrial hemp will give Ohio farmers another crop option to help them diversify their farms and possibly find another stream of revenue to offset years of declining commodity prices. We look forward to working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture as the program begins to take shape,” he said.
An analysis by the Legislative Service Commission said a new division will likely be created with the agriculture department to oversee the program if the state’s application to operate a program is approved by the U.S. ag department.
The new division may need to hire 24 full-time employees, according to the analysis that could increase payroll costs by $1.6 million per year. Those costs could be partially offset by licensing and testing fees.
In May, Joe Logan, president of the Ohio Farmers Union, testified before the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, and told the panel the OFU supports the decriminalization of hemp but had reservations about a mandate for a marketing program, saying it wasn’t needed as current market demand exceeds supply.
As an agricultural commodity, hemp is so new there is limited processing capability and there are still questions about the long-term viability of cannabidiol (CBD) oil as a market driver for industrial hemp, he said.
Globally, industrial uses for hemp fibers have been demonstrated, Logan said.
The bill also allows for universities to grow and cultivate the crop for research purposes.
Land used to cultivate hemp would qualify for property tax reduction under the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program.
Beki Hineline, outreach coordinator for the Ottawa Soil & Water Conservation District office, said growers her office works with haven’t so far expressed much interest in growing hemp.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association