Montana Farmers Union Celebrating Legalization of Industrial Hemp
The Montana Farmers Union is happy with most of what is in the Farm Bill that is working its way through the legislature this week, but the prospect of a new commodity crop was what had Montana Farmer’s Union President Alan Merrill the most excited.
"The biggest thing that we are happy with is that they are going to legalize Industrial hemp which will not only help Montana farmers, but will also help all farmers as an alternative crop," Merrill said. "We have a lot of hemp growing in Montana. Last year, we had a few hundred acres, whereas in 2019, we're looking at close to 80 or 90,000 acres."
Merrill says hemp can be used in all kinds of products including some that most will find surprising.
"It can be used in paper, in bedding for horses or cattle, but one of the biggest things is we are starting to be very encouraged by the idea of using it in something called hemp-crete, which is like concrete, but you put hemp in it and it causes it to be a lot stronger and last a lot longer," Merrill.
Hemp was made illegal to grow in the U.S. under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, right now the worlds’ leading hemp producer just happens to be China, with whom the U.S. is in the middle of an ongoing trade-war.