Kansas State University wins federal grant to study hemp in cattle feed

Kansas State University researchers are studying the effects of feeding industrial hemp to cattle.

The research comes from a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, KSN-TV reported Wednesday.

“Although hemp can be legally cultivated under license in Kansas, feeding hemp products to livestock remains prohibited because the potential for cannabinoid drug residues to accumulate in meat and milk has not been studied,” said Hans Coetzee, head of the anatomy and physiology department in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

What researchers want to know is whether hemp feed can be used without THC intoxication for the animals. Researchers believe that hemp byproducts, such as leaves, fodder and residual plant fibers are “mostly cellulose-containing plant materials” that could serve as feed.

A 2019 survey of farmers and ranchers this spring that gauged the interest of traditional agricultural producers in growing and using cannabis, 60% said farmers should grow cannabis for animal feed and 48% agreed they themselves would use cannabis for animal feed.

But in commercial animal feed, hemp is not an ingredient recognized by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). That’s a 50-state association of state agriculture regulators and federal and international agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).