The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) launched the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program earlier in December. The Pilot Program allows the PDA or an institution of higher education operating under a permit to grow hemp, which was previously prohibited by Federal and Pennsylvania law until recently. The PDA or institution may contract with a person to grow hemp, as long as it’s being grown for research purposes as part of the Pilot Program. Growers who would like to be considered for contracts with the PDA must submit a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program Permit Application prior to the deadline of January 6, 2017. After an institution receives approval of its application, the institution may then contract with growers to complete its research project.
Recently, the PDA announced that cost-sharing of up to $1,000.00 is available to cover the administrative fee associated with industrial hemp research projects. Researchers who successfully complete a permitted industrial hemp research project are eligible to apply as long as the researcher submits a final report.
A maximum of 30 projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. Completeness of the application and quality of the research proposal are the main factors the PDA will consider when evaluating applications, among numerous other qualifications according to PDA’s Pilot Program Parameters.
If you are considering applying to participate in the Pilot Program and have concerns related to contracting with the PDA or an institution, please contact Stock and Leader’s Agricultural Industry Group.