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growing hemp in ohio

191 farmers get permission to plant hemp plants in Ohio

COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio — After what farmers say was a lot of excitement before the hemp cultivation application process, only 191 Ohio farmers received permission to grow hemp after 207 across the state applied.

Many of those farmers are preparing to plant their first crop in what will be the first growing season where hemp can be legally harvested.

Paul and Barbara Bartrug walk through part of their property where they plan on planting hemp.

“A lot of farmers backed out, which is OK,” said Hickory Ridge Farms co-owner Paul Bartrug.

Bartrug says at early meetings for farmers interested in growing hemp, there were many more than in more recent meetings.

Orange flags mark the clearing where Paul plans to plant hemp in the next few weeks.

In other states, the market for hemp has fluctuated. In Illinois, reports say initial hemp prices of $40 per pound dropped as low as $5 per pound.

Beyond the fluctuating market, hemp is hard to grow.

Paul is using only two acres of his 70-acre property or hemp, making sure he has other income he can rely on if hemp sales don’t bring in as much money as he expects.

“It has the potential to make a lot more money than hay, of course, it is more work,” said Bartrug.

It’s more work because hemp requires close monitoring to make sure it’s legal once it’s grown.

Bartrug rents part of his land out for traditional crops, uses other fields for hay, and cares for horses on his property.

Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant but the main difference is how much THC each one contains.

THC is the compound in a marijuana plant that gets users high. Hemp is only allowed to have less than .3% THC, preventing it from having any psychoactive effect.

If state testing shows that a hemp crop has too much THC before harvesting, Ohio farmers will have to destroy it all.

“Yeah, and then you’re just done,” said Bartrug.

That’s why Bartrug is using only two of his 70 acres for hemp, basically just dipping his foot into the new business. He says he’s spent about $10,000 already on soil testing, equipment, and fees. He says that preparation and the relatively small piece of his farm that is being used for hemp will prevent him from running into the same issues that farmers in other states have encountered.

Hemp grown in fields like Bartrug’s can eventually become CBD gels, tinctures, or lotions like the kind sold by HempOhio.

“They just thought it was raising corn,” said Bartrug. “Some of those guys planted 50 acres and lost it.”

Once Bartrug is able to successfully grow and sell his hemp, his product will go to a processor to turn the raw flower into a gummy, oil, lotion, or other product that customers can use.

“The last thing you want to do is harm,” said HempOhio’s Mel Kurtz.

Kurtz shows some of HempOhio’s Zativa product at the company’s Independence facility.

HempOhio is a hemp processor that’s already producing it’s Zativa line of hemp products.

HempOhio partnered with a company called HempRise, a hemp processor based in Southern Indiana. HempRise helps companies and farmers cultivate hemp, extract raw CBD and other cannabinoids, and test its quality so brands like HempOhio can turn the extract into products customers can use.

“Our job is to make sure that the farmers’ product is right, our product is right, and our customers’ [product], which is the end product that goes to the consumers, is correct in what it says on the label,” said HempRise Vice President Charlie Bowman.

“Liquid Gold”: Bowman tells News 5 this small bottle of hemp extract is worth a few thousand dollars because of how concentrated it is and how many products it can be used to create.

That’s important because News 5 has reported before, the labels on CBD products in stores are often found to be inaccurate. The products inside often have different levels of CBD.

To avoid that problem in HempOhio products, HempOhio and HempRise say they test their product multiple times throughout processing to make sure it maintains its quality.

HempOhio has machines to do small extractions, helping research and development for future products.

“We have third-party verification, just to confirm it,” said Kurtz. “Check the checker.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture oversees Ohio’s Hemp program. It tells News 5 they are now able to test CBD products in Ohio stores and have a process to remove any products that are improperly labeled.

Ohio farmers prepare for Hemp crop

So you want to grow hemp in Ohio?

Update, Jan. 13: The optional Jan. 25 program has been cancelled.

WOOSTER, Ohio—Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and beyond in discovering Ohio’s possible new cash crop.

A workshop titled “Growing Hemp in Ohio: Separating Fact from Fiction,” featuring 10 sessions by 18 speakers, is set for Jan. 24 at the CFAES Wooster campus, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.

The event will look at the opportunities and challenges facing Ohio hemp growers. Subjects will include hemp plant basics, growing practices, business considerations, rules, and regulations.

Also offered is an optional program from 9:30 a.m. to noon the next day, Jan. 25, featuring six sessions by speakers from national and Ohio hemp-related businesses. Independence-based HempOhio is sponsoring the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Ohio’s hemp plans, making it legal for the state’s farmers to grow the crop.

Useful for making products including health food, paper, clothing, biofuels, bioplastics, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil, hemp is closely related to marijuana but lacks its psychoactive component, the chemical THC.

The methods and business of growing hemp

The workshop, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature two tracks of sessions, one called “Industrial Hemp and Cultivation Practices” and the other “The Business of Growing Hemp.”

Sessions and speakers for the “Industrial Hemp and Cultivation Practices” track will include:

  • “Using Plasticulture, Drip Irrigation, and Fertigation” by Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist, CFAES
  • “Understanding Hemp,” Craig Schluttenhofer, research assistant and professor of natural products, Central State University
  • “Insect Control,” Luis Canas, associate professor of entomology, CFAES
  • “Soil Nutrition Fundamentals,” Steve Culman, assistant professor and state specialist in soil fertility, CFAES
  • “OSU Research Update,” Harold Keener and Bill Bauerle, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, CFAES; and James Morris, Ohio State University Extension, CFAES

Scheduled for “The Business of Growing Hemp” track are:

  • “Ohio Rules and Regulations,” David Miran, Hemp Program, Ohio Department of Agriculture
  • “Market Perspectives,” Jonathan Cachat, Zativa (Independence, Ohio)
  • “Protecting Your Investment: Legal Issues,” Peggy Kirk Hall, associate professor and field specialist, agricultural and resource law, CFAES
  • “Grower’s Perspective,” Steve Ayers, Acela CBD (Maysville, Kentucky)
  • “Ohio Roundtable: Separating Fact from Fiction,” with Julie Doran, Ohio Hemp Farmer Cooperative, and the track’s previous speakers

The Jan. 25 program will feature:

  • “Media and Fertigation for Hemp Cultivation,” Bill Argo, Blackmore Co. (Belleville, Michigan)
  • “Machinery for Hemp Cultivation, Harvesting, and Drying,” Yebo Li, HempOhio
  • “Extraction and Processing of CBD from Hemp,” Ian James, Advanced Extraction (Brighton, Colorado)
  • “Organic Hemp: Seed to Sale,” Elaine Yu, HempRise (Jeffersonville, Indiana)
  • “Lab Testing Requirements for Hemp Cultivation and Processing,” Carolyn Friedrich, North Coast Analytical Laboratories (Streetsboro, Ohio)
  • A tour of HempOhio’s nursery and processing facility led by the company’s Mel Kurtz

Early registration discount by Jan. 10

General registration for the workshop, which includes continental breakfast and lunch on Jan. 24 and the optional program on Jan. 25, is $100 by Jan. 10 and $125 after that date. Registration for OSU Extension educators and currently enrolled college students is $50. Registration to attend only the Jan. 25 program is $25.

Online registration for the workshop is available at go.osu.edu/hemp20. A mailable registration form is included in the event flyer at go.osu.edu/2020hempflyer.

The workshop will be held in Fisher Auditorium on the CFAES Wooster campus, 1680 Madison Ave.

So you want to grow hemp in Ohio? Update, Jan. 13: The optional Jan. 25 program has been cancelled. WOOSTER, Ohio—Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural,