MARTIC TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Hemp is an up and coming industry in Pennsylvania.
Wednesday afternoon, it brought hundreds of people to Lancaster County.
Industry experts say it’s exploding.
More than 300 people from Lancaster, Philadelphia, and other parts of the state walked through a farmer’s hemp fields.
They learned about the challenges facing the industry and the opportunities ahead.
“This is what I call the ‘Growing Hemp Field Day,” said Steve Groff, the farmer who invited people onto his land. “I was born right here on this farm, and I am a third generation farmer. “
A vegetable farmer originally, Groff says he never imagined the day it would be legal to grow CBD hemp in his fields in Martic Township.
“My goal here is not so much that I am the expert, ’cause I am not. I am learning too. It’s more about connecting people, bringing people together to learn,” explained Groff.
29 speakers talked about their experiences, 19 exhibitors showed off their products, and more than 300 people from all walks of life explored the hemp fields.
“It is a great opportunity for the industry,” said Fred Strathmeyer with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Strathmeyer says approximately 34 people held permits in 2018. Now, he says over 350 people do with anywhere between 6 and 8,000 acres of hemp across the commonwealth.
“This brings a sense of hope for a lot of farmers. Farmers can grow this, but getting the rest of the industry lined up, the extractors, the end-users, the retailers, I should say, is maybe one of the biggest challenges we have right now,” added Groff.
What is happening in Pennsylvania has even been compared to the ‘Wild Wild West’, but the future promises more structure.
“We will eventually have very distinct rules,” added Strathmeyer.
“They’re talking about testing right now,” said Groff. “Testing for agricultural animals for pigs, chickens, cows, putting them some of this into their feed, helping them to do better. There is so many things this plant can do. That is what makes me excited cause it’s not just a one-year wonder crop.”
Some call it the new cash crop in an industry that is just getting started.
There will be another opportunity for people in the hemp industry.
An upcoming hemp summit will be held October 7th and 8th at the Lancaster Convention Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
People can register at www.PaHempSummit.com