Anyone who’s been keeping up with current events in agriculture will know that there’s a growing interest in growing industrial hemp.  This new interest began with the enacted 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis. Thus, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for expanding cultivation of hemp, but not marijuana. In the 86th Texas Legislative session this year, the Texas Legislature approved Industrial hemp production in Texas with House Bill 1325.  

On Tuesday, October 29 USDA released their interim rules which Texas and other states will now use in crafting their state-specific guidelines for hemp production.  Now, Texas Dept. of Agriculture will work to finalize Texas rules, which must then be submitted to USDA for federal approval.  

There could be opportunity for producers growing hemp, but not without careful consideration of all the risks. With no infrastructure or research on hemp in the region, we want to provide the most relevant and unbiased information for our area so producers and potential investors can make informed decisions in the outset of a potential new ag industry.  To begin this process of educating potential producers, an industrial hemp seminar will be held on December 10, 2019 by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in cooperation with the Wharton Economic Development Corporation at the Wharton Civic Center in Wharton, Texas.  The Wharton Civic Center is located at 1924 N. Fulton St, Wharton, Texas 77488.

Registration will begin at 6 p.m.  The seminar will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a brief welcome from Corrie Bowen, Wharton County Extension Agent, and Chad Odom, Director - Wharton Economic Development Corporation.  Our first guest speaker, Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock, will provide an introduction to the hemp industry. He will discuss hemp products and processing as well as the differences in growing seeds and transplants, growing for CBD oil or fiber, and agronomic considerations for growing industrial hemp.  Dr. George Knapek, Texas A&M AgriLife Agriculture and Food Policy Specialist will present the Economic Considerations for Industrial Hemp in Texas. Dr. Trostle and Dr. Knapek will allow time for questions and answers.  The program will conclude at 9:00 p.m.  If you are interested in attending the Industrial Hemp Seminar, please call Stacey by 5 p.m. on December 9 at the Wharton County Extension Office at 979-532-3310 to let us know that you’ll be attending.  The fee is $20/person, which can be paid at the door on December 10th.  Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in any Extension activity, are encouraged to contact the Wharton County Extension Office at 979-532-3310 for assistance 5 days prior to the activity.

The members of Texas A&M AgriLife will provide equal opportunities in programs and activities, education, and employment to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity and will strive to achieve full and equal employment opportunity throughout Texas A&M AgriLife. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating

Corrie Bowen is the Wharton County Extension agent. His office is located at 315 East Milam, Suite 112, in Wharton. The extension phone number is 979-532-3310.

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