WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Industrial hemp is catching on with farmers across the country, including in eastern North Carolina where state officials recently talked to more than 50 farmers about growing the crop.
Hemp is a form of cannabis that doesn’t the user high.
Farmers got the chance to learn about the crop in Beaufort County.
There is a lot that goes into being an industrial hemp farmer, especially because it’s so new in North Carolina.
Farmers are finding out what they can and can’t do with the plant.
Daniel Cahoon is a third generation farmer.
“We’ve farmed for some time now, since the early 50s,” said Cahoon.
The farm has grown everything from corn to cotton Cahoon said. But, now, this new plant has caught his attention.
Within the last month, he’s started putting up greenhouses.
He’s hoping to see hemp become a huge success in North Carolina.
“There is a lot of potential and the idea of this being a cash crop in North Carolina is exciting to a lot of farmers,” he said.
That’s why Cahoon and more than 50 other farmers came to the Cooperative Extension in Beaufort County.
Paul Adams is a seed and fertilizer supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Recently, Adams spoke about getting a license to grow hemp and what goes into it.
Adams said farmers begin with an application at ncagr.gov/hemp.
Once approved, they can receive a license.
And when they start to grow they must have the hemp tested to make sure the THC level isn’t too high.
“I can’t make any predictions for the future but the program is growing and I think its here to stay,” Adams said.
Cahoon said the new crop is a chance to keep farming.
“It means a lot to me – for my ancestors who started a successful farming business – it means a lot to a lot in the farming industry,” Cahoon said.
But there is a risk for farmers as many say because there isn’t enough research.
Also, some farmers say they aren’t sure if they’re ready to invest without knowing what they’ll get in return.