PILGER – Farmers from around the area were able to learn more about growing and producing hemp during a ‘Bringing the Farmer to the Frontier” event Friday.
From the Cooper Community Center in Pilger, over 200 attendees were able to hear from farmers currently growing hemp, local harvesting equipment experts, professors and more.
Colin Fury is a representative with Midwest Hemp Forum based out of Sarpy County. They’re an educational non-profit seeking to educate farmers in the midwest on hemp production.
Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, Nebraska was the third largest hemp producer in the United States after Kentucky and Illinois. It’s been over 80 years since hemp has been grown as a rotation crop in the midwest, according to Fury.
“So, we understand that there’s been a loss of generational knowledge,” said Fury. “So, what we seek to do is to put together these events to allow farmers to learn about hemp production, hemp as a crop and hemp in the market place.”
Midwest Hemp Forum hosted events throughout the state with their first in Clatonia and recently had about 150 famers come together in David City last month.
From planting to harvesting hemp takes 60 days and there would be two seasons in Nebraska. This hemp has to have less than 0.3% of THC.
In Illinois, there are over 470 farmers growing hemp where Fury added they’re estimating their returns from $90,000 – $160,000 per acre.
“I think that once Nebraska farmers are able to get into this business next year,” Fury added. “That we’re going to see great yields and it’s going to give them a lot more options to diversify and I think a lot of farmers are going to seek prosperity through hemp.”
Nebraska licensed 10 growers this year and next year to grow hemp there are three requirements. Be 18 years of age, not have had a drug related felony conviction within the past decade and to prove that go through a state patrol approved background check. Cost for a growing license is $100 to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and there is also a different license for those who look to process hemp.
Fury would like to warn farmers who look to grow hemp to start with five acres and see if you like it.
“See how you like this kind of agricultural production first,” Fury mentioned. “There’s a lot of people who go into it big and make a lot of money, but there’s a lot of people who go into it big and they lose.”
Upcoming events where Midwest Hemp Forum will be is Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island in early September and a York Farmer Forum on October 11.
Find Midwest Hemp Forum on Instagram and Facebook