Pubdate: Fri, 18 Feb 2000
Source: Capital Press (OR)
Copyright: 2000 Capital Press Agriculture Weekly
Contact:  PO Box 2048, Salem, OR 97308
Fax: (503) 370-4383
Author:  Lawrence Shoen, Napuisunaih Ranch, Bellevue, ID
Bookmark: MAP's link to Hemp articles is:


Idaho farmers may have an opportunity to put a new crop in their rotation,
one with desirable agronomic benefits and the ability to bring in many
value-adding industries and jobs. Gov. Kempthorne, in his State of the State
speech, said this is what Idaho needs.

The crop is industrial hemp. Its scientific name is Cannabis sativa L.,
which is the root of the word canvas, traditionally made from hemp.

Hemp is a cousin to marijuana, but hemp isn't the same as marijuana in the
same way a California poppy isn't an opium poppy.

Hemp once was a dominant crop in the world's economy. The prime obstacle to
growing hemp in the United States is the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration's opposition. The DEA's concern is that marijuana would be
substituted for hemp in the field.

The only way hemp farming will be possible for Idaho is if our state
government authorizes it, then seeks DEA approval. Hemp production has never
been illegal, just hopelessly restricted by the federal government. Any
state legislation can and should deal with the DEA's concerns.

Hemp is valuable for its fiber and its seed. Hemp fiber is used to make high
quality paper, textiles, construction materials, animal bedding, plastics
and other products. The seed has may uses and is rich in high quality oil,
protein and nutrients.

Hemp's deep root system opens up the soil. It is disease and pest resistant
and out competes weeds. In rotation, it raises grain yields, is nematode
resistant and works in atransition to organic growing. Generally, production
and processing of this plant have less environmental impact than similar

Idaho should be out in front on this. Hemp authorization is being pushed in
other states and other countries already are growing it. Contact your state
representative or senator to extend support for a bill being introduced by
Tep. Tom Trail of Moscow. (Call the Legislature at (208) 332-1000 for info.)

We need to begin varietal testing today for Idaho's soil, climate, etc. The
best book on the subject is John Roulac's "Hemp Horizons."

Industrial hemp offers a competitive economic opportunity that Idaho can't
afford to miss.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Don Beck