NATIONAL HEMP RESEARCH NEEDS SURVEY
A nationwide survey of hemp stakeholders to determine priority areas for future research projects on hemp. The survey, funded through the USDA NIFA Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive (SACC) grants program, was completed by over 1,100 hemp growers and other stakeholders involved in developing a sustainable hemp industry. The survey results show there are many current bottlenecks in the U.S. hemp industry. The information gained from the survey results will aid hemp researchers in defining their research priorities, and help funding entities identify priority research areas to target their grant programs. The results were published in December 2020 in the journal GCB-Bioenergy.
ORGANIC FERTILITY TRIAL
Hemp growers face many challenges while best practices are researched and developed. One of the components that can significantly change yield and cost of production is fertilization strategy. Organic growers use a variety of fertilization strategies varying in price and N content, including (1) no fertilizer; (2) compost; (3) standard organic blends, and (4) boutique fertilizer blends or regimes, which are often much more expensive. In 2020 we completed the second year of a study comparing the results of those four certified organic approaches in a living-mulch/plasticulture system. Results will be beneficial to hemp growers when deciding on affordable organic fertility strategies.
FERAL HEMP GERMPLASM COLLECTION AND CHARACTERIZATION
There are no publicly available seed collections of hemp in the United States after previous collections were destroyed during the period of hemp prohibition. The past two years I have actively collected feral hemp populations across Wisconsin. These populations will be submitted to the USDA hemp germplasm repository in Geneva, NY once open. This collection will serve as a resource for the characterization of genes and mining of alleles for beneficial traits in breeding new hemp cultivars. Please get in touch with me if you are aware of feral hemp populations!
HEMP COMPANION CROPPING
I am a co-PI on a USDA NIFA Tribal College Research Grant with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. The overall goal of our research is to cultivate hemp with companion cropping methods on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, for economic feasibility. Specially our objectives are to 1: identify the most suitable hemp cultivars to grow on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, 2: evaluate the effects of companion cropping on total yield and cannabinoid content in hemp, 3: measure the economic viability of cultivating hemp for cannabinoids and the supplemental markets for companion crops and 4: document and disseminate successful strategies for hemp companion cropping to students, tribal members, and area farmers and gardeners.