Continuing its support of Pennsylvania’s hemp sector, another $200,000 in grants have been awarded by the state’s agricultural department – and there’s more to come.
With the exception of prohibition in the 20th and early 21st centuries, hemp has played an important role in Pennsylvania since at least the late 1600’s, when it was declared one of four staple crops.
After close to 80 years of prohibition, hemp was again legally cultivated and harvested in Pennsylvania starting in 2017. But after such a long time in the wilderness so to speak, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in promoting hemp.
Following a similar initiative in 2021, another round of Department of Agriculture grants to support activities designed to boost sales, export or consumer awareness of hemp products made in Pennsylvania were announced in October last year. The successful recipients were named last week. To date, the department’s hemp-specific grant investments have eclipsed $1.12 million.
The grant program doesn’t end there. There’s more support on the way, with the department planning to award a further $392,00 in matching funds to reimburse up to half of project costs. Further details are available here.
“Hemp has offered a rare opportunity to grow a Pennsylvania industry from the ground up, springing from a material with seemingly limitless uses in sustainable construction materials, fiber and food products,” Acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These grants will boost an industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania’s economy and is again presenting opportunities for new businesses, farm income, jobs, and climate-friendly, environmentally sound products.”
And how’s that industry going? In 2022, the Department of Agriculture issued 275 hemp growing permits, including 14 research permits, and 53 hemp processing permits, including 2 research permits.
- Industrial hemp harvested for all purposes in the open totaled 310 acres.
- Area harvested for hemp grown in the open for fibre totaled 255 acres
- Area harvested for floral hemp in the open was estimated at 52 acres
.. so there’s still a long way to go before Pennsylvania sees harvested hemp levels like the days of old.
More information on growing and processing hemp in Pennsylvania can be found here.