URBANA, Ill. – Industrial hemp is one of the fasting growing crops across Midwestern fields and researchers are recruiting producers in the race to learn more.
University of Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educators are working with growers to source field data and provide cutting-edge research through the new Midwestern Hemp Database. Producer applications are now being accepted for the 2022 growing season online at go.illinois.edu/HempDatabase.
“The database is an interactive platform, updated weekly, that helps guide growers,” says Phillip Alberti, Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator. “Together, we’re working with growers and researchers to understand the performance of industrial hemp varieties used in the Midwest and production practices.”
In 2020 and 2021, over 180 hemp growers participated in this project, and results are available at go.illinois.edu/MHDReport.
In the mutually beneficial project, hemp producers submit information about their crop and university staff analyze and share that data with the public. In exchange for their involvement, growers receive significantly discounted cannabinoid testing on samples via partnerships with private laboratories; prices vary according to laboratory, but range from $35 to $40 per sample.
“Several years in, and we are still figuring out what is and is not working in the Midwest,” Alberti says. “This project allows us to learn a lot in a short period of time while allowing growers to make the most informed decisions possible.”
The database is not only useful for processors, but also regulators. The impending adoption of USDA-approved rules has made 2022 yet another valuable year to gather the information that growers will use for years to come, Alberti says.
“This project puts data from around the Midwest into an easily accessible and interactive format,” Alberti says. “Growers can feel confident using this database to make informed decisions about their operation.”
Applications for the 2022 growing season are open until July 24.
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