Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis sativa L. The crop is one of historical importance in the U.S. and reemerging in worldwide importance as manufacturers seek hemp as a renewable and sustainable resource for a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. The crop produces a valuable oilseed, rich in Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids that are often absent in western diets. When the oil is extracted from the seed, what remains is a marketable meal co-product, which is used for human and animal consumption. The fiber has high tensile strength and can be used to create cloth, rope, building materials, and even a form of plastic. For twenty years, U.S. entrepreneurs have been importing hemp from China, Eastern Europe and Canada to manufacture travel gear, apparel and accessories, body care and cosmetics, foods like bread, beer, and salad oils, paper products, building materials and animal bedding, textiles, auto parts, housewares, and sporting equipment. Industrial hemp is poised to be a “new” cash crop and market opportunity for Vermont farms that is nutritious, versatile, and suitable for rotation with other small grains and grasses.


Vermont, University of Vermont

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