EL CENTRO, Calif. - Imperial County Hemp farmers said they felt like they’re part of an experiment. They’re working with the County and Imperial Valley College finding out what makes the plant grow in the area.
Farmer John Currier said, “It’s been a challenge. We are truly the guinea pigs of the imperial county right now trying to figure out the industry and how to grow this.”
He planted in June and expects only half the crop to be usable.
“We’ve learned that our normal common farming practices that we do here, which is basically running the water down the furrows, it doesn’t work with hemp,” Currier said.
The County and IVC are putting on a Hemp summit at the end of September to promote the industry.
Michael Kelley, Imperial County Supervisor District 3, said, “We’re going forward with this. I think it’s dynamically that we champion the processing and manufacturing of hemp to deal with all the byproducts, up to three hundred byproducts, come out of Hemp.”
Ryan Kelley, Imperial County Supervisor District 4, said, “There will be panels and discussion about local regulations, about opportunities and finance, development.”
The supervisors said they want to clear up some misconceptions.
“Hemp is not something that is going to have any mind-altering effect. There is a criteria, .03% THC content. If testing shows that the crops stand at higher concentrations in that, it has to be destroyed,” Ryan Kelley said.
Hemp is a multi-use plant that can bring in millions of dollars in economic growth.
“Some medical applications, ointments, treatments, and oils. And then the fiber applications and paper products, textiles, construction materials,” Ryan Kelley said.
The Hemp summit will be held September 27-28 at Imperial Valley Fairgrounds.