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Idaho's new crop: Producers meeting held for industrial hemp in Idaho

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Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 19:40:30-05

BUHL, Idaho — Hemp production is kicking off in the Magic Valley. Hemp producers met Feb. 4 in Buhl to learn how they can best navigate the growing industry.

The producers meeting aimed to inform growers of the opportunities, risks, costs, and cultivation process of growing industrial hemp in Idaho.

“This meeting is a foundational building block to encouraging the success of the hemp industry here in Idaho. Farmers need to know about the water consumption, they need to know about the seeds and the cultivars that are required, they need to know what harvesting equipment is necessary to process and collect and harvest and bail industrial hemp, so today is really the beginning of the hemp industry here in Idaho,” said Matthew Mead, founder and CEO of Hempitecture.

After Idaho legislation passed a bill legalizing industrial hemp in April 2021, it is now legal to produce and process hemp in the Gem State. Now, local farmers want to know how to approach cultivating the new crop.

It’s important to note that while hemp can now be legally produced, you still need a license to grow and handle hemp Idaho.

Related: Idaho gets OK to license farmers to grow and transport hemp

“Look into this industry carefully and understand that there is some risk to producing hemp, it is not exactly the same as other commodities and even interacting with the State Department of Ag… it is a much more involved program than some other commodities and so we want everyone to go into this with eyes wide open,” said Chanel Tewalt, Deputy Director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

If farmers take a measured approach, they could be on their way to a successful growing season.

“I see hemp grain fitting in a crop rotation behind a lot of other commodities, it’s an amendment to other crops, it’s a rotation that’ll fit in nicely with farming in this valley,” said Tim Cornie, Co-owner of 1000 Springs Mill.

Related: Hemp production is just around the corner in Idaho

The addition of hemp for Thousand Springs Mill means expanding opportunities for the community in the form of a fundraiser.

“It also fits the fundraiser that we just started. We are building wealth in the communities by taking our healthy food, we deliver straight to the door, the kids get the money…,” said Cornie.

The goal of the fundraisers is to give back to the community by benefiting children in the form of funding sports teams, activities and other needs.

To get involved in the food delivery fundraiser, you can visit the 1000 Springs Mill fundraiser website.