A prominent group of U.S. Senators have approved a funding plan that would create a database of industrial hemp seeds varieties. That seed bank would be used by farmers and located at the U.S. Department of Agricultures Plant Genetics Research Unit in Missouri. Tom Angell of Forbes first broke the story.
The funding was unanimously approved for $500,000USD to research and develop a stockpile of industrial hemp seeds for a number of different applications. Industrial hemp can be used to manufacture textiles, building materials, grown as a food source, medicine in the form of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and processed into a clean energy source. Different varieties of industrial hemp seeds can be grown specific to certain uses.
This is positive for the industry as a whole. This news comes after the announcement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the new Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2018 that would reschedule industrial hemp to be legally grown across the country. The bill has gained bipartisan support and some version of the legislation is expected to pass this year.
“The scarcity of high quality hemp seed is a roadblock to the development of an American hemp industry,” Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp, told Forbes. “We are extremely pleased that Congress is providing funding to ensure that the USDA will once again collect and store hemp germplasm and make it available to American farmers and researchers.”