The 2018 Farm Bill, which defined hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed it from the controlled substances list, kicked off a hemp production boom in Vermont. In Orleans County alone, 51 growers registered 245 acres of industrial hemp with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) in 2018, and in 2019, 94 growers in Orleans County registered 868 acres of industrial hemp with VAAFM. The 2019 season was successful for some and challenging for others. Before you jump into growing hemp or decide to give it a try for another season, join the Orleans and Caledonia County Natural Resources Conservation Districts on Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. for a workshop that will include an update on federal and state hemp regulations and policies, as well as a farmer panel that will discuss the challenges and successes of the growing season.
Industry experts will be present to offer a high-level overview of how the season went for growers in Vermont, and will also provide an update on federal and state hemp regulations and policies that will impact growers next season. A farmer panel will run through what worked and what didn’t work, with a specific focus on soil and water quality considerations. Topics to be covered include soil preparation, sourcing of plants or seeds, fertility, irrigation, plastic mulch, harvesting, and finding a buyer for the product. There will be time for questions and discussion.