Colorado-based New West Genetics says it has developed the first U.S.-bred hemp seed, which state officials are calling “a giant step for American hemp farmers.”
“This is an exciting time for the industrial hemp industry. It seems breeding, technology, and information advances are happening at the speed of light,” said Duane Sinning, Assistant Director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Division of Plant Industry.
The new breed, called NWG Elite, is a dioecious strain primarily for large-scale grain production, CDA noted in a recent release. It is the first U.S.-developed planting seed to be certified under standards of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA). The development advances the potential for hemp to be adopted by Colorado farmers as a rotational crop that offers better returns than other commodity crops, CDA noted.
NWG Elite is among a total of seven varieties approved for Colorado by the CDA. Of the remaining six: Three are Polish strains –- Beniko, Tygra and Bialobrzeskie; two are Italian –- Eletta Campana, Fibranova; and one is Serbian – Helena.
Aside from New West Genetics, companies representing the breeds approved for Colorado include Schiavi Seeds LLC, Lexington, Kentucky; the Institute for Natural Fibers and Medicinal Plants (IWNiRZ)’ Poznan, Poland; and International Hemp Solutions (IHS) and Bija Hemp, both of Denver, Colorado.
IHS, Bija and the Polish institute recently signed a contract for sales of IWNiRZ’s certified planting seed in The Americas, and to do joint research.