Illinois’ first hemp farmer opens up his farm to other future farmers

ROSEVILLE, Illinios  --  Starting April 9th, 2019, the Illinois Department of Agriculture hemp production rules have been approved. They must be submitted to the Secretary of State. After final approval, they will start accepting applications.

In August of 2018, former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act. That act legalized the growth of hemp in the state. In December 2018, Congress passed a farm bill legalizing industrial hemp production in the United States. Now, CBD oil extracted in Illinois can be sold to other states.

Now, they will sell permits to interested farmers. According to Andy Huston, founder of American Hemp Research, there is a $100 application fee. Huston says a one year license costs $375, two years costs $700, and a three-year license costs $1,000.

Today, Huston held an open house for other farmers interested in the industry.

"I want to sell farmers seeds," Huston said. He also plans to extract his own CBD oil.

"I think it's great we have Andy to kind of be our mentor," attendee Mark Seipel said. "He's willing to help."

Huston says he will share any information he has. He is also selling his seeds to farmers once they have a permit.

"I'm going to need these people," Huston said. "I want them to be successful, because if they are successful, then I will be successful. We are all in it together."

He's planning to plant on June 1st, and to extract oil in July. During his research, Huston said he found hemp to be more profitable than corn and soybeans.

"I'm pretty confident that our soils and climates are pretty ideal for growing hemp," Huston said.

Applications to grow hemp can be found on the Illinois Department of Agriculture's website. Huston says the application can take up to 30 days to process.

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