Imperial County signs hemp growth agreement

Imperial County signs hemp agreement

EL CENTRO, Calif. - Imperial County signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with the California Hemp Foundation and California Hemp Association. 

It's the first agreement ever signed in the state that supports the development for growing hemp. 

The production of hemp is a billion dollar market the county is hoping will bring an economic boom to the region. 

Industrial hemp production is an industry that is making a comeback in the U.S.  

"The farm bill that passed in December,took hemp off the control substance list. A lot of interest has developed here locally about the potentials," said board supervisor, Ryan E. Kelley

Great potential is what Wayne Richman sees in an environment like the Imperial Valley.   

"You've got great climate,you can probably grow at least two crops, where other states and counties are only growing one crop per year," said Wayne Richman, founder of The California Hemp Association.

"Last year we imported approximately eight million dollars from China and Canada alone, that's a billion dollar market," said Richman. 

It's a market Imperial County believes will bring industrial and economic growth as well as new job opportunities to the Imperial Valley. 

"Hemp can be a good additive in our crop rotations and having an industrial sector develop around that, would be great here," said Kelley. 

The county has already seen interest from local farmers looking to grow hemp. 

About six-hundred acres in the valley are currently in the beginning stages of hemp production.

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