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Department of Agriculture Funds Projects to Elevate Pennsylvania Hemp Market, Increase Industry Opportunities

03/31/2021

Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced $157,735 in state funds for three projects that will increase consumer awareness of hemp and hemp products in Pennsylvania and increase market opportunities for growers and processors in the commonwealth.

"Hemp is an opportunity to revolutionize the norm for everything from agricultural conservation practices to home building," said Redding. "But for the revolution to take hold and make a lasting impact, we need programs that raise awareness and educate growers, processors, and consumers alike. It's the purpose of this grant opportunity and the projects we've funded."

The Hemp Promotional Grant Program, an opportunity announced in February, is a reimbursement grant program that covers up to half of project costs that occur between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

The funded projects include:

Don Services, Lawrence County, $109,000: Project PA Hemp Home, in conjunction with DON's Hemp Test Acres Program for farmers in the region, is a key opportunity for Pennsylvania builders, contractors, farmers, and end-use industries to learn about hemp building materials in a real-life application and to understand the potential economic impact of industrial hemp.

Team Pennsylvania, Dauphin County, $32,095: The Pennsylvania Hemp Summit aimed to increase the commonwealth's shared knowledge and resources in order to inspire innovative investments and to form transformative partnerships in the hemp industry. The Pennsylvania Hemp Summit connected hemp farmers, processors, supporting industries and hemp industry experts, and provided an occasion to learn, network and grow the businesses that comprise Pennsylvania and the regional hemp industry.

Urban Affairs Coalition All Together Now PA, Philadelphia County, $16,640: The coalition offers agricultural Hemp education and promotion events that include the cultivation, harvesting, and processing methods, and the local supply-chain integration of industrial hemp use.

Hemp was grown in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States until after World War II but became regulated along with marijuana and its cultivation was prohibited by federal law. Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant species. Unlike marijuana, hemp is also grown for fiber and seed, in addition to floral extracts, and must maintain a much lower concentration of the psychoactive chemical THC below the 0.3 percent legal threshold.

Hemp made a comeback in Pennsylvania in 2017, through a Pilot Research Program. In 2019, as a result of the 2018 federal Farm Bill, Pennsylvania opened the Hemp Program for commercial growing which has since continued.

Hemp is a versatile crop than can be grown for seed, fiber, or oil. The fiber is perhaps the most versatile byproduct, and can be used for everything from paper, textiles, fabrics, and even construction materials.

For more about Pennsylvania's Hemp Program visit agriculture.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Shannon Powers – shpowers@pa.gov 

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