Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) was once widely grown in Missouri as a fiber crop. As cheaper plant fibers became available and synthetic fibers were developed, hemp production came to an end in the mid-1900s. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 made it illegal to produce or possess any form of the cannabis plant.

Recent changes in federal and state legislation have increased interest in growing hemp for fiber, grain and CBD oil. Hemp fibers can be used to make paper, plastics, and construction materials. The grain can be used in food products, body care products and fuel. The CBD oil comes from the flower. It is used to reduce epileptic seizures and may have other potential health benefits. The Missouri Department of Agriculture has filed the rules for growing hemp in 2020. They are currently taking comments on those proposed rules until Dec 1. Once the rules are established, Missouri residents can apply for a registration to cultivate industrial hemp. They may also apply for a permit to sell, distribute or offer for sale, viable hemp propagule (cuttings, transplants or clones) or agricultural hemp seed to registered producers. More information, including the proposed rules, can be found at the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s website.

An educational program will be held on Tuesday, December 3 at 1 p.m. at the University of Missouri Forage Systems Research Center located at 21262 Genoa Road, east of Linneus. University of Missouri Extension specialists Greg Luce and Joe Horner will talk about agronomic practices of growing industrial hemp and crop enterprise budgets respectively. Representatives from MDA will cover regulations and the application process. The event will end with a panel question and answer session.

There is no cost for the program and pre-registration is not required. For more information contact Valerie Tate, field specialist in agronomy at tatev@missouri.edu or call 660-895-5123. University of Missouri Extension programs are open to everyone.

Valerie Tate, field specialist in agronomy for the university of Missouri Extension.