Florida Hemp Program Setting the Bar High

Tacy CalliesAlternative Crops, Citrus Expo

Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), gave an update on Florida’s hemp program as part of the Citrus Expo virtual general session. “Florida is becoming the leader in the country — if not the world — on how we’re getting our hemp program rolled out and the standards that we’re setting,” … Read More

Hemp: Finding Legal Seeds and Insurance

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

The Florida Hemp Association recently clarified which seeds can be legally grown under Florida law and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) rules. Growers must use either a seed approved by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) or a Pilot Project Hemp Seed approved though a university pilot project, the association reported. AOSCA is an organization … Read More

20 Florida Farms to Conduct Hemp Research Trials

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

hemp

Twenty commercial farms in 12 Florida counties have been selected to conduct on-farm hemp trials. The trials will be part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. The farms are in different agricultural regions to provide a variety of conditions to study the growth and success of the crop across the … Read More

Florida Hemp Plan Approved; What’s Next

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) mid-April approval of Florida’s state hemp program cleared the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating the crop soon. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) will begin accepting applications to grow industrial hemp on April 27. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who governs FDACS, said, “After months of incorporating feedback from … Read More

Hemp Cultivation Applications Begin April 27

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

On April 6, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) filed its hemp cultivation rule for adoption, with the rule slated to become effective April 27. “FDACS will start accepting applications for cultivation on Monday, April 27, 2020, via FDACS.gov,” the agency announced. According to FDACS, it will not issue permits until it has U.S. Department of Agriculture … Read More

Hemp Grower Partners Wanted

Tacy CalliesAlternative Crops

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hemp program is seeking 20 qualified partners across Florida for on-farm trials. Zack Brym, agronomist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead and research coordinator of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project, says partner farms will conduct a coordinated field planting on 2 acres with variations in land … Read More

Hemp Advice: Start Small, Be Cautious

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

There are numerous challenges facing potential growers of industrial hemp in Florida, said Jerry Fankhauser at the recent Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference. Fankhauser is assistant director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and lead oversight manager of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. Researchers involved in the project are looking … Read More

Hemp Production Has Risks

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

There are risks and significant costs in growing hemp, Tyler Mark warned about 50 attendees at the Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference 2020. The event, hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Food and Resource Economics Department, took place Feb. 27 at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. Mark, a University of … Read More

Research Addressing Industrial Hemp Production Challenges

Ernie NeffAlternative Crops

Future growers of industrial hemp in Florida will have the advantage of research being conducted now by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Zach Brym, agronomist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead and research coordinator of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project, summarizes the work being done. “We’ve taken the last couple … Read More

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

solar

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