Colorado Farmer Shatters Hemp's Fiber Ceiling

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Ryan Loflin bet the farm in 2013 and did what no U.S. producer had done for 70 years.

The Springfield, Colo., grower ordered hemp seed by mail from Europe and stockpiled his supply bit by precious bit. When the cache climbed to 1,500 lbs., Loflin, 43, stepped into agriculture’s terra incognita and dotted 60 acres of flat ground in extreme southeastern Colorado with hemp seed. And then he waited for Uncle Sam to come knocking.

No cease and desist letter. No phone call from the feds. No DEA raid. Loflin shattered a fiber ceiling to become the first U.S. farmer since the 1940s to plant and harvest industrial hemp.

Particularly in an agricultural economy with anemic commodity prices, hemp is beckoning to U.S. farmers. Federal prohibition remains in place, but states are moving forward with legalization. Despite a storied crop history lasting until 1937 (Hemp briefly returned to U.S. fields during World War ll), industrial hemp production was banned partly due to marijuana association. Both are part of the Cannabis sativa family, yet hemp is marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin – distinct in chemical and genetic makeup. Continued@AgWeb

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