Three Texas A&M AgriLife industrial hemp field days set

Three industrial hemp field programs will be held for producers on Sept. 27, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 near Lubbock, Chillicothe and Muleshoe, respectively, by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. There is no cost to attend nor is preregistration required.

The first of the three field days takes place from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Lubbock, at 1102 East Drew St./Farm-to-Market Road 1294.

The second field hemp program will be Oct. 7 from 9-11 a.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Station, 1340 Farm-to-Market Road 392, Chillicothe.

On Oct. 8 the field day will be from 9-11 a.m. at the Chad Nickels Farm, near the intersection of Texas State Highway 214 and the southeast corner of County Road 1123, about 6 miles south of Muleshoe.

For stakeholders with any health concerns, a summary of the hemp program and the opportunity to view field trials will take place at 4 p.m. in Lubbock and noon at Chillicothe and Muleshoe on their respective dates.

The programs will be led by Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist and state hemp specialist, Lubbock.

Trostle encourages not just potential hemp growers but also civic leaders, law enforcement, farm agriculture suppliers, crop consultants and related fields to attend.

“This is not just a meeting about how to grow hemp,” he said. “Many individuals have questions about hemp production in their communities, and how this does — or does not — relate to marijuana.”

Industrial, fiber hemp

“Industrial hemp came to Texas for the 2020 cropping season with much hype and misinformation,” Trostle said. “Although there still may be opportunities for some growers in CBD, market prices paid to a grower for dry hemp biomass for CBD extraction have declined about 90% since early 2019.”

Justin Benavidez, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, Amarillo, who will speak at the Lubbock program concurred. “The prices are no longer there. Many early Colorado hemp CBD farmers, for example, believe they are out of hemp farming for good due to this change in the industry.”

According to Trostle, the focus of hemp in West Texas has shifted to fiber hemp.

“Though markets and processing are developing slowly, this appears to be the interest of potential hemp farmers now,” he said.

Trostle added that there was never the outsized potential income of $40,000 or more per acre of hemp in fiber like there was in CBD. Thus, prospective growers are approaching possible hemp fiber production with a more realistic perspective.

In addition to Trostle and Benavidez, hemp speakers at Lubbock will include Ken Obasa, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, Amarillo, and Sukhbir Singh, Ph.D., vegetable/specialty crops professor, Texas Tech University, Lubbock. A spokesperson from the Lubbock-based Texas Hemp Growers Association, which represents regional and state farmers, will also be on hand at all three meetings.

To learn more about the programs, contact Trostle at 806-746-6101 or ctrostle@ag.tamu.edu.

AgriLife Extension offers additional hemp education resources, including a monthly newsletter, online resources and a “First Tuesday” monthly online hemp Zoom update from 5:15-6:30 p.m. that Trostle coordinates.

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