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Farmer Field Day to Cultivate Interest in Booming Hemp Industry

An event in southern Wisconsin is offering tips to farmers interested in the booming business of hemp.

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is hosting the Industrial Hemp Production Field Day next month to showcase different growing methods for hemp that is high in a compound known as CBD, which has pharmaceutical uses.

The market for CBD is set to explode over the next few years.

Leah Sandler, a research agronomist with Michael Fields, says her organization has done hemp production trials and the results will be helpful for growers.

"Michael Fields did do research on hemp last year, was one of the few in the state that did," she states. "So just kind of on the front end of it and trying to figure out as many things, make as many mistakes as we can and get all that information out to growers to try and mitigate their risk."

Last year was the first year Wisconsin farmers could legally grow hemp again.

According to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection numbers, nearly 250 growers and 100 processors gained licenses in 2018.

This year, the state issued more than 1,400 licenses for growers and nearly 700 for processors.

The Industrial Hemp Production Field Day is on Sept. 6 in East Troy.

Predictions are high for the hemp industry, especially the CBD market. It's expected to grow from $618 million in 2018 to $22 billion in 2022.

But Sandler notes there's a still a lot to learn about the industry and time will tell how big it eventually becomes.

"A lot of the processing doesn't really exist in the state or really in the region, and so trying to figure out if growers can be successful growing, where are the markets, where are the processors that's going to allow the industry to grow?" she states.

Sandler and other experts in the hemp field are hosting another field day focusing on extraction and processing on Sept. 13 at West Star Organics in Cottage Grove.