Skip to main content

Minnesota wants farmers to start growing hemp


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is looking for farmers to participate in a pilot hemp program ordered by the state legislature last year.

It will be the first time that hemp has been grown legally in Minnesota in 60 years.

However, those interested must provide land, security, a research plan and seeds purchased from another country, reported MPR.

The federal government still considers hemp an illegal drug, but at least 27 states have passed some kind of industrial hemp law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and VoteHemp.

The purpose of the program is for the MDA or researchers at Minnesota universities to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp. Farmers must provide reports to the MDA on contracts, seed varieties, and records of any sales.

"My hope is that we will have a few acres planted in Minnesota in 2016," Geir Friisoe, Director of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's plant protection division, told MPR. "I think just given some of the challenges we've had I think that's a good start to getting this off the ground."

What is hemp?

While marijuana contains levels of about 15 percent THC – the chemical that produces the high – hemp has very little THC, usually about 0.5 percent, according to LiveScience.

"Industrial hemp is a crop that contains only trace amounts of THC, or psychoactive substances, so people can come in and steal it, but it wouldn't get them much," Andrew Johnmeyer, a farmer from Zumbrota, told ABC 6.

The southern Minnesota farmer is only planting beans and barley this year, and wants to grow industrial hemp for livestock feed.

Hemp is also used to manufacture a variety of products such as oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel.

Hemp fabrics are stronger, better insulators, and water absorbent Jason Lauve told Live Science. Lauve is the founder and director of Hemp Cleans and author of a bill that established Colorado's industrial hemp pilot program.

"Animal bedding, building materials, petroleum clean up products, car parts, ballistic materials, etc. ... essentially, any product which consumes petroleum can be produced from hemp, and it's renewable," he said.

Minnesota's hemp-growing neighbors

During the 2014-15 crop year, Canada produced almost 75,000 kilotons of hemp, according to the Canadian government's agriculture department. Canadians have legally been growing hemp since 1998, but plants must contain no more than .3 percent of THC.

North Dakota also has the 0.3 percent limit. The state passed a bill two years ago authorizing university researchers to plant and study industrial hemp.

Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa do not currently allow the cultivation of hemp.

Next Up

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.

brian ingram

Woodfired Cantina closes at Keg and Case in St. Paul

Restaurateur Brian Ingram is focusing on growing his other concepts.

giant bear

Video: 'THE fattest bear we have ever seen' spotted on MN trail camera

"This might be THE fattest bear we have ever seen in our area," researchers said.

u.s. attorney

Guilty plea from man who stockpiled guns, equipment to make bombs, drugs

Prosecutors say he had multiple guns, items to make weapons and pipe bombs, and lab equipment to make drugs.

polaris Ranger XP Kinetic

Here is Polaris' new electric Ranger off-road vehicle

The Minnesota-based company unveiled the electric UTV on Wednesday.


MN women's soccer team narrows name, logo options to final 3

The winning nickname and logo will be announced in January.