Redlands Launches Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

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With the signing of a new law by Gov. Mary Fallin to create the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program, Redlands Community College is ready to launch its Industrial Hemp Pilot Project. Over the next year, the college will be working with farmers across the state to grow this versatile crop.

Redlands is partnering with Oklahoma City-based Botanac to implement a strict project protocol that will result in valuable research and a better understanding of how to successfully cultivate industrial hemp crops. Botanac is providing seeds to select farmers in different regions of the state to produce hemp fiber, grain and cannabidiol (CBD). Redlands’ faculty will be working with students to study the science and agriculture associated with a crop which hasn’t been farmed in Oklahoma in several generations.

“This pilot project has generated a significant interest from many Oklahoma farmers, and we’re looking forward to working with them to help produce diversified crops throughout the state,” said Redlands President Jack Bryant. “With our faculty’s extensive experience studying soil, water and growing methods, we are thrilled to use our resources and knowledge along with Botanac’s understanding of industrial hemp to help increase the viability of family farms.”

Redlands and Botanac are targeting approximately 1,000 acres during the first year, including indoor and outdoor sites and both irrigated and non-irrigated land. Redlands faculty and students will be observing and evaluating the growing conditions of each site to help better understand the conditions necessary to produce viable hemp fiber, grain and CBD.

“Coming from a farming family, I am excited to be a part of a project that has the potential to be a major boost to the agriculture industry in our state,” said Tina Walker, manager of Botanac. “We appreciate the investment Redlands and our strong network of farmers are making in cultivating industrial hemp.”

Fiber, seeds and oil from an industrial hemp plant can be used for a variety of purposes, including textiles, paper, construction, food, biofuel and biodegradable plastics. With less than .3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), industrial hemp is different than the plant that produces marijuana.