USA hemp startup gets permit in Pennsylvania

JustBen Agriculture has received approval for its research proposal to grow hemp under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, the company has announced. JustBen is an early-stage hemp-production farm focused on research into hemp as food and fiber. The company received one of 15 permits granted hrough a state-run hemp program under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. JustBen said it will grow five acres (circa 2 hectares) this season, which is the maximum acreage allowed by the program.

“We’re excited by the prospect of growing hemp in Mifflin County. And especially thrilled to be contributing our skills for the betterment of Pennsylvania families,” said JustBen founder Dr. Justin Frederico. “In the short term, our focus will be researching hemp as food and fiber. Ultimately, we envision a fully operationalized farm planting, growing, cultivating and harvesting industrial hemp for food and fiber for Pennsylvania–and continuing to research hemp’s uses,” Dr. Frederico said.

Pennsylvania’s pilot hemp program, signed into law by in July 2016, is authorized by section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) and Pennsylvania’s Industrial Hemp Research Act (Act 92), which was enacted in December 2016. The act allows for farmers to work with individuals and higher education to conduct research to grow, cultivate and/or market industrial hemp. The other approved program proposals are for projects in 15 counties across the state: Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Schuylkill and Westmoreland. Final permit approval is anticipated during the second quarter.