OTTAWA — Local farmers had the opportunity to meet Thursday to discuss hemp production by getting over the hurdle of processing and marketing.
Schroeder Law Firm, of Columbus Grove, in conjunction with Putnam County Farmers Union held the meeting at Schnipke Inn in Ottawa attended by 60 Putnam County Farmers Union members.
Securing legal hemp seed and marketing hemp products may prove to be the biggest challenge for Ohioans who want to raise hemp.
Senate Bill 57 was signed into law July 2019, decriminalizing hemp and paving the way for the development of a new industry in Ohio.
The law decriminalizes hemp, making it a legal crop for Ohio farmers to cultivate and process. It allows for the creation of a hemp program to be administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The law also sets up a licensing structure for farmers who are interested in growing the crop and those interested in processing it. This summer, Ohio law changed to allow the production and processing of hemp.
Todd Hasson, an Ohio State University alumni from Columbus, discussed his entrepreneurship in the healthcare related industrial hemp industry. He is co-founder of L6 Solutions, an industrial hemp industry.
Hasson grew his own hemp crop in Tennessee this year in March and grew 2 1/2 acres of hemp and started selling it in October to small convenience stores.
He discussed getting into the industrial hemp production business by diversifying a small part of the farm and the anticipated return on the investment.
“Hemp is a high-dollar cash crop, and the current yield per acre for the return is $25,000 an acre net,” Hasson said.
He said hemp has been a taboo subject for many years and farmers have had problems knowing where to sell hemp as an open commodity.
Hasson said farmers can give hemp to wholesalers like himself to sell or processors who would make it into CBD oils.
Two weeks ago, the Ohio Department of Agriculture finalized the acceptance of feedback on the specific rules that will govern hemp production in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is expected to finalize those rules in the coming weeks, which rules have the force and effect of the law unless the rules are inconsistent with the Ohio Revised Code.
Joe Logan, Ohio Farmers Union president, attended the meeting and said the state and nation has focused on corn and soybeans, where markets have been saturated.
“Hemp offers farmers an opportunity to diversify their production system,” Logan said.
Lee Schroeder, of Schroeder Law LLC, explained hemp is cannabis plant material. Cannabis is the same plant that can be cultivated to produce marijuana.
“The difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is composed of less than 0.3% THC, the ingredient that provides marijuana users with a ‘high,’” Schroeder said.
Hemp can be used to create oils (commonly marketed as CBD oils), paper, wood, clothes and plastic substitutes. Hemp is a frequent substitute for cotton, because hemp is stronger and softer than cotton and because hemp can be twice as durable as cotton.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.