Hemp Plant Options and Advice

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Adam Elend, CEO of Florigrown, LLC, addresses the four main options for starting industrial hemp plants in the field and offers some advice for choosing suppliers. Elend reports in-depth on the pros and cons of three types of hemp seed in an interview at the end of this article. The fourth option for planting is cuttings. “In an unpredictable world, … Read More

Seeking Profits With Hemp

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

The fact that growers will be able to legally grow industrial hemp in Florida doesn’t necessarily mean the crop can be grown successfully, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) official says. “There is a huge interest in industrial hemp in the state of Florida,” says Jerry Fankhauser, assistant director of the UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment … Read More

Certified Seed for Hemp Explained

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Many farmers looking at hemp as a potential alternative crop in Florida have been confused by the requirement that the hemp come from certified seed. Adam Elend, CEO of Florigrown, LLC, explains what certified seed is and is not. “The idea of certified seed is creating a lot of consternation among farmers,” Elend says. “I think that the intention of … Read More

Hemp Experiences Shared

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Hemp officials from two states shared their experiences with the potential alternative crop at the recent Florida Ag Expo. Doris Hamilton, hemp program manager for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Paul Adams, industrial hemp program manager for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, participated in a panel discussion. Hamilton reported Kentucky had almost 1,000 growers and nearly 27,000 acres … Read More

Hemp Production Research Discussed

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Brian Pearson, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences assistant professor, discusses diverse research into production practices for the future growth of industrial hemp in Florida. He addresses fertilization, irrigation, pests and the light needs of the plant. Pearson works at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka. Pearson says there is “a lack of information” … Read More

Thinking Hemp? Have a Business Plan

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Jeff Sharkey, executive director of the Florida Hemp Association, moderated a panel discussion on federal and state hemp policy at the recent Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.  “Getting the (hemp) application and licensing is reasonably straightforward,” Sharkey says. “The Department of Ag (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) wants people to be successful.”  Sharkey says his … Read More

Upbeat Hemp Update

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provides an optimistic update on the future of hemp in Florida. Bell spoke at the first Florida Industrial Hemp Conference and Exhibition held Nov. 3–5 in Orlando. Following her presentation, she talked with Southeast AgNet’s Tacy Callies. According to Bell, growing hemp in Florida became legal … Read More

‘Florida Farmers Are Going to Be the Best Hemp Growers in the Country’

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

“Florida farmers will eventually overtake the rest of the country” in hemp production, predicts Holly Bell, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) director of cannabis. In an interview with Citrus Industry Editor Tacy Callies, Bell summarizes her talk at the general session of Citrus Expo. Bell says “Florida farmers are going to be the best hemp growers in … Read More

The Possibility of Tea Production as a Citrus Alternative

Abbey TaylorAlternative Crops

By Breanna Kendrick Fourth-generation citrus grower James Orrock is a plant pathology graduate student at the University of Florida who is studying tea as a possible alternative crop to be grown on former citrus land. “The citrus industry is having to go through some changes, so one of the key aspects of Florida agriculture right now is diversification,” said Orrock. … Read More

Solar Energy from Abandoned Groves

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops


Some growers have found their abandoned citrus groves “make the perfect property” for solar energy developments, says Michael Minton of Dean Mead law firm. Minton summarizes a presentation he made about solar energy opportunities for agriculturists at the recent Florida Agriculture Financial Management Conference, held in the Orlando area. “We have found the various utilities we’ve worked with … are … Read More