Ohio begins taking hemp-growing applications

Ohio farmers began applying for three-year permits Tuesday to start growing hemp in the state this year.

Ohio was among the first three states in the country in December to have the U.S. Department of Agriculture approve their rules for growing and processing hemp. The Ohio Farm Bureau predicts the plant will become the state’s third-largest crop, behind corn and soybeans.

“It’ll really help those farmers out in Ohio,” Julie Doran, founder of the Ohio Hemp Farmers Cooperative, told the Dayton Daily News. “Between trade wars and exporting of crops, us farmers have taken a big hit.”

Federal law allows states, territories and tribes to take the lead on regulating hemp production – but only with the blessing of the USDA.

The application period ends May 1. There are separate applications and requirements for cultivating and processing hemp.