Hemp gets high priority in Pennsylvania agriculture grant awards

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Hemp gets high priority in projects funded by the state of Pennsylvania aimed at supporting specialty crops. Roughly $160,000 of $460,000 in a recent round of funding went to two hemp research projects, according to an announcement last week by the state’s agriculture secretary, Russel Redding.

Penn State University received ~$126,000 for a project aimed at optimizing genotype selection and management practices for Pennsylvania hemp production; and Franklin & Marshall College was awarded $36,000 to establish a comprehensive baseline assessment of oomycete pathogen pressure on hemp plants.

‘Strength in diversity’

Funded under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill state Specialty Crop Block Grants program, the state awards back development of high priority specialty crops that are not eligible under the federal specialty crop grant program.

“Increasing market access and competitiveness means investing in crops with high growth potential that otherwise may be overlooked,” said Redding. “There is strength in our diversity, and we need to ensure growers – no matter size, scope or production – have every opportunity to succeed.”

Boosting competitiveness

Other high priority crops in the state include hops, hardwoods, honey; and barley, rye and wheat for distilling, brewing and malting. Projects funded aim to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of specialty crops through research to increase conservation and environmental outcomes, enhance food safety, develop new and improved seed varieties, and improve pest and disease control, state agriculture officials said.

Three state hemp initiatives in April received a total of $157,735 in funding for projects aimed at boosting the hemp sector in the state. Those awards, from Pennsylvania’s Hemp Promotional Grant Program, support initiatives that raise awareness of hemp and hemp products.

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