It’s been a busy year for the hemp industry, to say the least. Hemp Grower spoke with a few of its editorial board members to get a better idea of what’s happened, what’s to come and what to look forward to.

Barbara Filippone

Founder and President, EnviroTextiles, LLC, SBP Sustainable Biodegradable Products

Anndrea Hermann, M.Sc., B.G.S., P.Ag.

Principle, The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting (TRICC)

Lawrence B. Smart, Ph.D.

Professor, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University; Associate Director, Cornell AgriTech

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Following the Farm Bill’s passage, what’s something that has surprised you?

Filippone: “That the stalk of both CBD [cannabidiol] flower shrub-grown methods and historically grown is not clearly defined as not intended for human consumption therefore should be excluded from the THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] limit.”

Hermann: “Lack of support for the banking sector.”

Smart: “I have been surprised that there are still some states that have not engaged in developing hemp programs despite the widespread support and interest across the country. It has been fantastic to see the interest in plant science and agriculture among folks not trained in those fields based on their curiosity about hemp.”

What single most important piece of advice do you have for someone who is new to the industry?

Smart: “Do your research and forge collaborations with people you trust.”

Filippone: “Identify what part of the supply chain is of interest. Educate yourself to better understand the values of CBD hemp and industrial hemp and what is required to create long-term, value-added supply chains. Protect farmers, have buyers contract farmers with assurance their crop will be sold, [have] seed and LOI [letters of intent] agreements in place that include nonrefundable deposit for the costs [of] growing.”

Hermann: “Since hemp is such a robust plant and can offer so many opportunities, the key is to hone in on what they are passionate about and follow that path instead of trying to do it all at the same time.”