23 Nov Hemp: Florida Farmer’s New Crop
Green Earth Cannaceuticals is growing 40,000 plants on 30 acres in the city of Bartow. Typically, this land would be used for citrus. Polk county produces more citrus any other rural area in Florida. But in the last decade production of citrus crops has dropped by 70%. Even citrus farms are closing with about 15,000 acres of farmland gone.
What is Next for Florida Farmers?
However, the 40,000 plants that Green Earth is growing is not citrus…. It’s hemp. A series of laws, budgets, and regulations have been put forward, both by the USDA and the Florida Department of Agriculture, that will soon allow Florida farmers to grow hemp. This will allow farmers to grow both: Industrial Hemp and Phytocannabinoid Rich (PCR) Hemp. Meaning Florida farmers can grow for both industrial purposes and CBD.
To the naked eye, Green Earth is growing plants that look, smell and smoke just like cannabis. The main difference is cannabinoid content. These PCR Hemp plants are high in CBD and low in the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. They are growing these plants as part of a test crop for the Florida Department of Agriculture. They are looking into what genetic strains grow well in Florida, how to fertilize the crop, how to avoid mold and fungus, etc.
Can Hemp Save Florida’s Farming Industry?
Although hemp is going to offer Florida farmers an alternative crop to the dying citrus industry. If may be more beneficial than that. Many farmers are eager to see if hemp can offer their soil regenerative properties. Possibly offering the chance to use hemp as a rotation crop to their citrus fields. The idea is that hemp could replenish the nutrients into the soil that could be beneficial to citrus…. Possibly saving the Florida Citrus industry.
Soon the Florida Department of Agriculture will open licensing and more Florida farmers will be allowed to grow hemp. Final rules are due out any day now.