A coalition from the agriculture industry known as Kansans for Hemp recently announced Rep. Willie Dove has introduced legislation HB 2182, The Kansas Agricultural Industry Growth Act, into the House Commerce, Labor, and Economic Development Committee.
The Kansas Agricultural Industry Growth Act defines standards for economic development relating to the agribusiness of industrial hemp. Kansans for Hemp is requesting that supporters be present to show support for this initiative at the committee hearing for this bill at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2017.
In a March, 2016 press release Rep. Willie Dove (R-Bonner Springs) announced he had introduced (then) House Bill 2634, The Alternative Crop Research Act; legalizing industrial hemp in Kansas. The bill authorizes the Kansas Department of Agriculture and state universities to begin research into planting, cultivating, processing and analysis of industrial hemp demonstration plots by selected licensed growers.
“About 25,000 products can be made from industrial hemp,” Dove explained. ”With this versatile plant, you can build a house, an automobile or tractor body and a variety of consumer products; from clothing to body care products, to delicious and nutritious snack foods. It’s green, also, requiring no pesticide, herbicide or fungicide and the insulation material hempcrete is actually carbon negative. It will provide an ideal rotation crop requiring only a fraction of the water needed by cotton and corn, and processing plants will mean jobs for Kansans.”
According to a press release this week from Kansans for Hemp: with current market prices continuing to decline, Kansans should at least be afforded the option to branch out into a new agribusiness. The Agricultural Industry Growth Act will not only mean new and essential raw materials for a multitude of farming needs, but also innovative research, jobs in manufacturing and processing, in addition to being ecologically sustainable. Having one of the top agricultural colleges in the nation, researchers deserve the opportunity to take their place at the forefront of this rapidly growing industry.
With increasing growth and support for industrial hemp throughout the nation, Kansas citizens are now joining the call for the opportunity to add diversity to their own crops. More than 30 states have passed pro-hemp legislation and as many as 8 more have introduced bills to their state governments.
“The unsubstantiated prohibition of hemp has cost the state millions of dollars per year in generated revenue. This isn’t Marijuana we are talking about, no one can get high from hemp. This is truly sustainable agriculture with proven results,” said Chris Underwood, Kansans for Hemp.
Kansas farmers know hemp requires virtually no pesticides or insecticides, it requires significantly less water compared to other crops like corn or cotton, and the replenishment of soil with nutrients like nitrogen and oxygen is imperative for maintaining proper soil biodiversity. Hemp is high in oil and fatty acids which allow cattle to digest it slower allowing producers to get more nutrition per pound of feed. Our farmers and communities have waited for too long, and far too many farmers have been denied freedom to grow and reap the rewards from one of the strongest and most versatile plants known to humankind. Kansas needs to takes its place in this market, which is expected to reach 20 to 40 billion dollars by 2020.
“Hemp is excellent for ground not able to be planted otherwise. Even planted on tillable ground, hemp promises higher ROI than any other crop and it replenishes the soil. I would rather plant all of my ground in hemp, if for no other reason, to rejuvenate the economy and provide a more sustainable and versatile crop,” said Chris Nelson, Leon Kansas resident
With a well regulated bill and an emphasis on a Kansas focused model that seeks to protect farmers and communities, HB 2182 can ensure public safety and environmental health are preserved for future generations, according to the press release. The legislation also provides solutions to the very urgent need for alternative revenue, new businesses, and increase in skilled labor throughout Kansas. S