New hemp research consortium attracts funding from tech and ag giants

Instrumentation powerhouse Agilent Technologies is joining forces with one of the most prominent companies in agriculture to bankroll a public-private hemp research effort aimed at increasing hemp profitability.

Members of the new Hemp Research Consortium will donate $5 million for agronomic hemp research at Cornell University, North Carolina State University and the University of Kentucky, the consortium members announced Tuesday.

Another consortium contributor is U.S. Sugar, commonly called Big Sugar, a Florida-based company that is the nation’s largest producer of sugar cane by volume.

Half of the money, $2.5 million, is coming from the federal Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Other members include:

  • Scotts Miracle-Gro
  • Oregon CBD
  • International Hemp

Consortium research and data will be publicly available, the group said.

“Hemp is a versatile crop with the potential to diversify the U.S. agricultural portfolio if we can develop stable markets for hemp products,” Kentucky agriculture professor Bob Pearce said in the funding announcement.

“These markets will require a coordinated research effort across the entire supply chain to realize hemp’s potential.”