Event to Focus on New, Less-Restrictive Industrial Hemp Laws and the Resulting Opportunities for Virginia’s Agriculture Industry

3rd Annual Industrial Hemp Field Day, Virginia State University, June 25, 2019

VSU’s Dr. Maru Kering (left), the university’s lead industrial hemp researcher, explains to visitors to VSU’s Randolph Farm how different hemp cultivars have fared in central Virginia during a past growing year. 

On July 25, 2019, Virginia State University (VSU) will host its third annual Industrial Hemp Field Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the university’s Gateway Conference Center, 2804 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA.
The event will provide a forum for potential growers, researchers, marketing experts and industrial hemp product users to discuss the future of the crop in Virginia and neighboring states. Attendees will receive an update on the legislation governing industrial hemp production in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as learn about the challenges and opportunities for cultivating this crop.
Speakers will also discuss the wide variety of products derived from industrial hemp. For example, hemp stalks can be used to produce biofuel, paper, upholstery, fiber for cloth and other textile items, building materials, and industrial products. Industrial hemp seeds can be used to produce animal feed and human food as well as serve as a source of oil for lotion and cosmetic products. Industrial hemp flowers can also be used to produce Cannabidiol (CBD) oil for a variety of medicinal uses.
Registration is $50 per person for the first 100 registered. It is $65 per person afterward. Registration includes lunch and is limited to the first 400 registrants. To register, visitwww.ext.vsu.edu/industrial-hemp.

During the 2019 General Assembly session, Virginia lawmakers amended the state’s industrial hemp laws to align with language in the 2018 federal farm bill passed by congress last December. They amended the definitions of cannabidiol oil, marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to exclude industrial hemp in the possession of a registered person, hemp products, or an oil containing no more than 0.3% THC. As passed, the bill defines "industrial hemp" as any part of the plant Cannabis sativa that has a concentration of THC that is no greater than that allowed by federal law, and it defines "hemp product" as any finished product that is otherwise lawful and that contains industrial hemp. The bill adds the category of "dealer" in industrial hemp to the existing registration categories of grower and processor.

As a result of these changes, Virginia farmers can now apply to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) for a permit to grow industrial hemp for purposes beyond exclusively for research. VDACS reports that it has experienced a surge in grower and processor applications since December.
For more information, or if you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Laverne Morris at lmorris@vsu.edu or (804) 524-5151 / TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations five (5) days prior to the event.
The 2019 Industrial Hemp Field Day is hosted by the university’s Agricultural Research Station (ARS), part of the university’s College of Agriculture. The ARS is responsible for carrying out the land-grant university’s mission of conducting scientific agriculture and food production research that will increase profitability for Virginia’s small, part-time and limited-resource farmers. Initiatives such as this event help support and grow Virginia’s $91 billion agriculture and forest industry.
This event is held in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.