South Carolina’s industrial hemp expansions taking shape

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The South Carolina Department of Agriculture announced it has received 162 industrial hemp applications for 2019, according to a WYFF report. The state is doubling the number of industrial hemp farmers from 20 to 40 — and doubling their allowed acreage from 20 acres to 40 acres — for next year’s harvest.

“Expanding the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program will give us a greater opportunity to assess where and how this crop grows best in South Carolina. Ultimately, industrial hemp is about crop diversity, new business for our rural farmers and economic development in South Carolina.” — Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, via WYFF

Farmers possessing hemp licenses from 2018 must re-apply for 2019. Applicants also must meet a series of qualifications, released earlier this year.

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South Carolina farmer David Builick, who was issued a permit in 2018, is reapplying for 2019. Builick initially decided to grow industrial hemp after becoming aware of the medicinal needs of a friend’s daughter, who has a condition requiring CBD oil. Builick is also aware of the commercial demand for a variety of hemp products.

“Volvo, BMW, those guys, their dashboards and side panels are all made from industrial hemp. It’s brought in from overseas but we don’t have enough acreage to grow that here to be a competitor for manufacturers in our own state.” — David Builick, in an interview with WYFF

Farmers approved for 2019 permits will be named by the state in September.

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