LINCOLN, Neb. Since 2017, The University of Nebraska has been planting and studying hemp mainly from Canada but this summer it grew and plants to harvest it’s very first crop of CBD with seeds from Colorado.
Tucked away and blocked by sorghum is UNL’s industrial hemp test ground.
“This year we have grown hemp for fiber, hemp for grain, and for the first time we are growing hemp for CBD,” said Ismail Dweikat a professor of genetics.
Dweikat is Nebraska’s self-proclaimed hemp farming expert. He’s spent his time in the Saunders County field testing different types of hemp’s compatibility with Nebraska’s soil and climate.
“Canadian hemp, it’s not suitable for the Midwest,” said Dweikat.
Now that hemp farming is legal in Nebraska he’s started testing what’s commonly known as ditch weed.
“We’re going to start working with the wild hemp that’s present throughout Nebraska,” said Dweikat. “To see if we can use that wild hemp, to clean it up and use it as a crop.”
This year with his CBD crop, he’s looking at when the best time of year to plant is.
“We’re trying different dates,” said Dweikat. “To see which date is giving the best yield and is it possible to grow more than on crop in Nebraska.”
Dweikat is using his years of hemp farming experience to try to educate Nebraska farmers who are considering adding the plant to their fields. He says since the law passed he has received hundreds of calls and emails from farmers about the plant.
“Corn and wheat farmers are losing money on growing it,” said Dweikat. “Hemp will provide an additional crop for rotation.”
Dweikat is going to be a part of a farming forum on hemp in York on October 11th and hopes to open his fields next year to help educate Nebraska farmer on industrial hemp farming.