Hemp: Rally the Troops

Story by Ed Saukkooja

     31 state legislatures have voted to allow industrial hemp production, with Pennsylvania being the latest. But of course, the federal government will only allow research in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill.
     Kentucky and Colorado are leading other states with over 6,000 acres planted this past spring. Here in Washington State, our farmers will have seed in the ground spring 2017. Washington State Department of Agriculture is working on rules and regulations for next spring’s planting. Let us hope those rules are not overly onerous for our farmers.
     Even after 31 states have passed legislation permitting their farmers to grow industrial hemp, federal legislators can’t seem to get hemp farming bills S. 134 and HR. 525 out of the committees. Are we to believe that the chairmen of the responsible committees don’t know the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp? Could it be pressure to withhold campaign financing funds from the many entrenched industries with which industrial hemp would be a competitor? The jig is up, Congress. American farmers are on to you, and there is a buzz throughout rural America. Why not hemp? I’ll say it again, FOOD FUEL FIBER MEDICINE. Why not hemp?
     It is exciting that those 31 states have permission to plant hemp for research and development (R&D) purposes, but doesn’t do much to encourage investment. Investors need laws in favor of the investor class. Without a change in federal law, the major investments needed will not come forward. One difficulty is banking. As the law stands today, any FDIC-insured (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) bank that participates risks being charged with laundering drug money.
     R&D will be of utmost importance. Not only for what cultivar works best under what conditions, or which strain provides the most seed oil per acre, or the best and most fiber, but also for manufacturing new types of harvesting and processing equipment.
     At the present time we can look to Europe and Canada and learn from them and improve. John Deere, New Holland, Case, and all heavy farm equipment manufacturers should gear up for this new/old multi-billion dollar crop.
     I would like to encourage my readers to contact your federal Representatives and Senators to support and sponsor HR. 525 and S. 134. The passage of these simple bills would allow American farmers another tool in their arsenal. Hemp is excellent for crop rotation with legumes. Chickens love hemp seed, which helps them produce more healthful eggs high in essential Omega-3 fatty acids, and hemp fiber is great bedding material for all livestock.
     As the general public and farming communities become more informed of the potential economic benefits of hemp, our politicians will get the message. Now that campaign and elections are on the horizon, let us all ask our prospective leaders: “What is your position on industrial hemp?” If they are ignorant, educate them. If they are not in favor, don’t vote for them.
     Hemp for Employment, Hemp for the Environment, Hemp for Manufacturing, and Hemp for FREEDOM.  

Ed Saukkooja. ---- 25 years industry knowledge
 Industrial Hemp Consulting
 Pe Ell, WA.
360 291 3117
 800 963 HEMP