Members of a Mississippi Hemp Task Force are meeting to determine if Hemp could be a profitable crop for farmers. MPB’s Desare Frazier reports.
Poultry and Eggs top the list of commodities produced in 2018, bringing in $2.9 million dollars according to Mississippi State University. A state department of Agriculture task force is studying whether Industrial Hemp could be a profitable crop for farmers as well. It can be used to produce fiber or sold as seeds. Wes Burger with Mississippi State is on the taskforce. He says there are some drawbacks.
“The biggest uncertainty now would be what would be the commodity price for the fiber, or the seed that is produced from an industrial hemp crop and so that’s one uncertainty because we don’t have the markets well-developed right now,” said Burger.
Burger says the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn’t established rules for hemp production. He adds there would have to be a system in place from planting the crop to bringing it to market. Freddie Rowell a farmer in Pelahatchie says states growing Hemp have a different climate than Mississippi.
“It was brought up today, what variety of this will even grow here and how do you have to grow it here? So there are too many unknowns for the farmer to jump in and say I’m going to farm it for the fiber, for the bedding material, for the seed. There are just too many unknown factors, too many risks in it now,” said Rowell.
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics says the plant looks just like marijuana and would be problematic to regulate. The task force meets in November and will provide recommendations to the legislature and farmers in December.