Goehring accepts proposals for industrial hemp pilot program

BISMARCK – North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that four proposals submitted for the industrial hemp pilot program have been approved. A total of 17 proposals were submitted, with 11 deemed eligible.

“Industrial hemp may only be grown in North Dakota through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture's pilot program or by institutions of higher education,” Goehring said. “The program's primary goal is to increase our knowledge of how industrial hemp fits into the existing agriculture landscape and economy.

The approved 10-15 acre proposals are as follows:

  • David Lommen, operating as an individual farmer, to research grain, fiber, processing and oil extraction
  • Clarence Laub, operating as an individual farmer, to research grain, fiber, processing and oil extraction 
  • Lyle Edwards, operating as a corporation, Black Dirt, Inc., to research variety trials and grain marketing 
  • Jamie Edwards, operating as a corporation, Black Dirt, Inc., to research variety trials and grain marketing

A provision in the 2014 farm bill gives authority to state departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes. Proposals were ranked by a committee appointed by the agriculture commissioner and ultimately approved by the commissioner.

Though this is the first time individuals will be able to grow industrial hemp in North Dakota, 12 varieties of hemp were grown in research plots at North Dakota State University's Langdon Research Extension Center last year.

Industrial hemp can be used for oil, fiber, textiles, recycling, automotive, furniture, food, paper, construction materials and personal care.