University of Wisconsin Starts Hemp Research

The 2018 Farm Bill was a game-changer for the country’s agricultural sector. Tucked away among the pages of the bill was the Hemp Farming Act, legislation that classified cannabis with less than 0.3% THC levels as industrial hemp. The bill gave farmers in all states and tribes the green light to grow hemp under state and tribal programs, and grow they did.

Hemp is insanely versatile, some say with more than 2,000 uses. Apart from its industrial uses such as making bioplastics and fabrics, hemp is quite known for the cannabinoids it produces. The most known ones are THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is responsible for the psychoactive high cannabis users experience, and it’s still illegal at the federal level.

CBD, however, isn’t, and just like hemp, it is chock-full of surprises. The compound is a potent natural medicine, able to act against a variety of diseases including high blood pressure, chronic pain, and anxiety. Unfortunately, since hemp was illegal for decades, there has been very little research into its structure and how it works.

However, a new program by the University of Wisconsin could be the start of an age of unlimited hemp knowledge. Launched by agricultural experts at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Division of Extension this past spring, it is part of a $35,000 grant offered for industrial hemp work between CALS and the Division of Extension.

According to Liz Y. Binversie, Agricultural Director at UW Extension, there are three pillars in the grant proposal: research, extension, and teaching. She is part of a statewide team that’s been working on hemp networking programs and meetings drawing people from all over the state.

“We have a whole new team of state specialists, researchers and county educators doing the research arm of the grant. Most of the funding is going into the research piece because we don’t have hemp research: it’s been illegal to grow for the past 60 plus years,” she explains.

The grant’s extension proposal includes state specialists offering information to anyone interested in the state’s hemp industry. For example, an end of season meeting held in DePere, Wisconsin in December had over 400 registered people.

“These meetings have been very well attended, and people have been interested in hemp. I’m very upfront, I don’t have a lot of data to share yet at the Extension, but what we can share are our experiences from other growers. Something I’ve heard from growers is that they had learned the most from talking with other growers.”

Hemp industry analysts believe that sector players like Dama Financial and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) are happy that universities and colleges are taking the lead in disseminating hemp information to prospective farmers and members of the public.

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