USDA gives $5 million to expand hemp opportunities in Tennessee

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Two universities, a hemp trade group and the agriculture department in Tennessee are joining forces to research and develop new economic opportunities for the state’s hemp industry.

According to The Rogersville Review, the collaboration will be funded by a nearly $5 million grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities awarded to:

  • The University of Tennessee.
  • Tennessee State University.
  • The Hemp Alliance of Tennessee.
  • The Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The project will use the funds to help expand markets for hemp producers who provide benefits to small and underserved producers and to produce climate-friendly commodities, the Review reported.

One goal is to expand the production of industrial hemp as a “climate-smart” commodity, including by evaluating its greenhouse gas benefits.

Efforts are planned to recruit and identify producers considered underserved – meaning minorities, women and veterans, for example – as well as growers from the most economically disadvantaged areas in the state.

The initiative, part of 71 proposals selected by the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, was one of five hemp-focused projects to receive funding from the program.