Feb 13

Iowa House Agriculture Panel hears advocates of industrial hemp production

state-capitol-iowa-nightDES MOINES – Iowa Republicans report that on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the Iowa House Agriculture Committee had a presentation about the economic potential for industrial hemp production for fiber, energy and food purposes. Indus- trial hemp is a hemp plant that does not contain measurable amounts of the chemical intoxicant found in illegal marijuana.

Prior to the mid-20th century it was widely grown in the United States for purposes of providing fiber for rope pro- duction that was essential to the naval operations in World War I and World War II. The demand for hemp derived rope was subsequently replaced by South Asian sourced products and synthetic materials after World War II ended. At the same time, starting around 1930, there was growing concern about illegal use of marijuana as an illegal intoxicant developed and it appeared that one of the ways to grow illegal products was to conceal in legitimate industrial hemp fields where it was difficult to detect. When other options to the use of hemp for rope production developed, the feder- al government made the growing of hemp illegal and it stayed illegal until the 2014 federal farm bill when a provision was enacted that remove federal re- strictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. Specifically, that bill re- moves hemp from the Schedule I con- trolled substance list under the Con- trolled Substances Act of 1970, and de- fines it as a non-drug so long as it con- tained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydro- cannabinol (THC).

Tuesday’s presentation to the House Agriculture Committee was made by two persons from ‘Heartland Hemp’ compa- ny/farm Mike Lewis and Boris Shcha- ransky from Kentucky. They distributed a fact-sheet and highlighted aspects of it by noting that the re-emergence and re- introduction of ‘industrial hemp” cultiva- tion could be a positive step for Iowa. It may stimulate and encourage new diversified economic and agricultural develop- ment in Iowa, and because of Iowa’s talented farmers; rich soil; and great growing weather could help Iowa devel- op as a leader in this emerging market. As the hemp industry grows in the United States, they opined that Iowa has the unique opportunity to be the leader of this industry and direct its development and future. The speaker and their handout noted that there is a historical precedent for industrial hemp in Iowa as more than 43,000 of this crop were grown in northern Iowa in 1943. The hemp grown from this “war crop” was used to manufacture textiles, rope, hygiene products and other materials for the Allied forces.

The speaker touted that hemp stalk har- vests can yield 16,000 pounds of bio- mass per acre on average, compared to corn, which yields 8,500 pounds per acre on average, which could generate 640 gallons of hemp-based ethanol per-acre compared to 340 gallons of corn-based ethanol per acre. However, these corn figures appear only to consider the grain aspect; and current Iowa ethanol plants produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol per bush- el push per acre ethanol generation from corn to more than 500 gallons per acre harvest of corn grain. Mr. Lewis, in re- sponse to a question by a Committee member on what the gross revenue they were generating per acre of hemp, stat- ed– around $7,000 an acre, with the caveat that they were adding value to the raw hemp production on their farm by processing the raw field harvest into food, fuel and fiber. They further re- sponded that this productivity was creat- ed by harvesting the annual crop twice in a crop year, the first a vegetative harvest for fiber and biomass and about 50 to 60 days after planting and the second a grain harvest in the fall for seed that was producing 1200 to 1400 pounds of seeds. These seeds/grain was the sold for human consumption for $2.35 a pound which generate grain cash values of $2,500 per acre compared to corn’s $800-$1,000. They also commented on potential soil and water quality enhance- ment aspects of the crop as its deep tap root penetrates deep into topsoil creating aeration for subsequent crops and creat- ing a pathways for less vigorous crops in subsequent year to access deep soil moisture and nutrients. They further noted hemp planting and seed harvest can use the same equipment that is used to for corn and soybean fields and to harvest the biomass they used an old- fashion sickle mower. In closing they noted that industrial hemp products now represent a $620-million market in the U.S. which is the largest consumer of hemp products in the world and in part to meet this soaring U.S. demand, Canadi- an licensed industrial hemp acreage has grown from 20,000 acres in 2009 to more than 100,000 acres in 2015. They noted that their initial attempts to grow the crop was thwarted by federal seizure of their planting seeds as it crossed state bor- ders and hence was interstate commerce but that legal obstacle was worked out for subsequent crops and retention of a portion of the harvested seed for subse- quent year plantings.

Nearly two decades ago, in 1997 there was legislation (HF 402 and SF 340) before the Iowa General Assembly to have provided for research by Iowa State University regarding the production and marketing of industrial hemp which had a percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol of not more than one percent. The bill pro- posed to not-withstand Iowa’s controlled substance act at the time and authorized the university to collaborate with agen- cies of the United States government in order to produce and possess industrial hemp according to the terms and condi- tions required by the law. The bill authorized the university to conduct research regarding the production of high quality seed varieties, the feasibility of producing industrial hemp in this state as a profita- ble cash crop, the development of good production practices, the need for and availability of suitable equipment and machinery, and market conditions affecting the economic viability of industrial hemp production. HF-402 and its identi- cal Senate companion SF-340 died in the House following pointed discussion by agents of the federal government to House Leaders and bill managers who expressed strong federal concerns that illegal marijuana would be grown in the midst of the legal industrial hemp field to avoid detection and eradication. However, since that time; the development of the drone; genetic modification organ- isms and advanced optics technology makes it plausible to cost effectively sur- veil potential industrial hemp fields for illegal marijuana inter-plantings that might address the valid federal drug en- forcement concerns on this matter.


  1. Jasen Joseph Hylbert

    There is one key factual error in this otherwise good article. The error is related to the history of industrial hemp prohibition. Just as the prohibitin of alcohol was corrupt from its inception and actually about damaging the society and economy of the United States by financially incentivizing the pushing of drugs while suppressing biofuels (ethanol fuel was banned during alcohol prohibition), the prohibition of cannabis has been from the onset a corrupt plan to damage and empirialize the American society and economy by financially incentivizing the pushing of drugs while suppressing biofuels (the prohibition of cannabis has resulted in increasing rates of use and production of “marijuana” and only a sincere suppression of hemp).

    In both cases, foreign entities such as Russia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, and Columbia stood to gain in exports while the United States stood to lose. Americans were enticed to kill, decieve and entrap eachother and the wealth of the biosphere was wantonoy plundered because of the ill willed desires of some freedom hating perverts who sought to weaken and gain influence over the United States. While the history of those truly in control of the English speaking world has been one of making alliances and uniting the world through universal communicational potentials, those who have gone awal and/ or sold the rest of us out have through their spreading of corruption taken humanity back through the relative devastation of the effecacy of verbal communication within much of the world.

    The prohibitionists in both cases have always served the objectives of the anti – development crowd. They have also,served the purposes of the likes of george soros who plan to buy up areas after having been a part of planned economic downturns.

    Whether it is happening now because the hateful anti – Americans think that they have gained control here, because of global humanitarian concerns (the world bank has identified industrial hemp as one of the key crops to ending world hunger), because of industrial hemp’s potential to qwelllegitimate concerns pertaining to efficient useof resources, or because of diplomatic breakthroughs which employed sincere value driven ideologies, all of humanity should be celebrating the fact that industrial hemp will be grown in abundance in the United States of America!

    I feel as though I should make a point of saying that I am not a xenophobe and that I acknowledge the fact that the enemy in these days of hemp prohibition has been domestic as well as foreign.

    Anyone who tries to deny the truth regarding the history of hemp prohibition is probably not worthy of trust at any level. Currently the truth is right in the open to see, as “marijuana” cartels in Oregon State have proved their lack of patriotism and hatred towards the biosphere and humanity by pressuring the Oregon State government to maintain a ban on industrial hemp production. One can read and/ or watch news coverage regarding how the illiterate domestic terrorists in Oregon State who hate anyone who speaks literally have maintained a ban on hemp. These are anything but anti – drug groups banning industrial hemp, but rather are cartel cult members who try to pass off their self destructive rituals of drug addiction as healing. There is nothing sincerly moralled about a group who limits a particularly nutricious food like industrial hempseed while tricking people into believing that the distraction of being “high” is being healed.

    Though the industrial hemp prohibitionists may delude themselves, in truth there will be no escape from justice in the long run for those guilty of banning industrial hemp anywhere. Make no mistake – anyone who tries to ban industrial hemp from any particular place will be punished like the criminal against humanity and the biosphere they are. Perhaps it is the modern forms of technological punishment and surviellance which exist today which are to thank for current headway in repealing industrial hemp prohibition!

    Some further historilogical factual information regarding industrial hemp:
    Advances in processing of industrial hemp scared the pot cartels into taking actions against industrial hemp in the 1930’s.
    Advances in processing of industrial hemp in recent years such as in field decortication mounted to harvesting equipment, as well as a huge range of innovative applications which utilize the hemp plant, have scared pot cartels into trying to suppress hemp (such as in Oregon State)…

    As usual, the prohibition dependent illiterate corruption cult is at odds with human ingenuity… This time around we will defeat the prohibitionists thouroughly!

  2. Anne Marie DeVries

    Our family is interested in hemp production in Iowa for many reasons, we would like to know if any updates are available?

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