Nebraska farmers and producers now have the opportunity to apply for a hemp license, and the Nebraska Hemp Industries Association said they're here to help.
"It is very exciting," said Jacob Bish, NEHIA treasurer and Bish Enterprises public relations. "Only 10 people were allowed to do this in Nebraska last year and the department of agriculture has been opening up the doors so hopefully every farmer in Nebraska that would like to grow hemp this year has that opportunity."
For those wanting to apply, Bish said, be aware of the background check.
"You can not be a felon convicted of possession of a controlled substance within the past 10 years, that is the primary thing that background search is checking for," said Bish.
These background checks take time, so they said, act fast.
"That could take up to thirty days to occur. so the Nebraska Department of Agriculture encourages anyone to fill out this application at least 30 days before they intend on planting," said Bish. "We recommend even earlier so you have time to ask the questions you need."
Before farmers start planting, NEHIA experts said, get educated.
"There's more than just CBD that hemp can be grown for. It has a stalk that can be used for many applications such as fiber construction material particle board, so that's a very versatile option as well as the seed is incredibly nutritious."
However, as a new commodity, they said, be wary of limited processing facilities.
"Find a market," said Alex Seyfert with Bish Enterprises and the Midwest Hemp Forum. "Know where you're going to sell this product, because they're still growing. There's still a lot of markets that haven't developed yet. So, if you want to start growing for hemp grain there are no grain processing facilities at the moment. If you want to grow for textile or industrial hemp there are very few processing facilities in America."
Despite these hurdles, Bish said he hopes to see a lot of hemp applications as product acceptance continues to grow.
"It's been more and more open each and every year," said Bish. "I remember the first years we were doing this it was a lot of marijuana jokes however people have educated themselves over the years and really started to be open to this new commodity especially with the sustained downturn of other commodity prices."
In hopes of supporting future hemp farmers, NEHIA is offering free Nebraska Hemp License support. They said they encourage questions and phone calls. They will be putting together a FAQs page based off common questions they're receiving. For more information, click here.
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