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'Like A Gold Rush!' Vermont's Booming Summer Hemp Crop

A registered grower plants hemp in a Charlotte field on July 3, 2019. The number of registered hemp growers in Vermont has more than doubled since last year.
A registered grower plants hemp in a Charlotte field on July 3, 2019. The number of registered hemp growers in Vermont has more than doubled since last year.

The acres of hemp being grown in Vermont, as well as the number of people registered to grow or process the crop in the state, have all more than doubled in the last year. But a late growing season and potential bottlenecks to harvesting and processing the plant pose looming challenges. We're talking with growers and state regulators about Vermont's booming — if fledgling — hemp industry.

Stephanie Smith, chief policy enforcement officer for Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, discusses the sharp rise in registered growers and processors in Vermont and the still-developing regulations and standards for the state's hemp industry.

And Heather Darby, agronomist and professor at UVM Extension’s Northwest Crops and Soils program, talks about her work with hemp and hemp growers in Vermont since 2015, current research into the crop and assistance the extension offers to Vermont hemp growers.

And Bill Lofy, co-founder and CEO at South Burlington hemp processor Kria Botanicals, explains what's involved in processing hemp into a marketable product and whether processors will be able to keep up with the hemp harvest this year.

Broadcast live on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2019 Vermont Public Radio