Hemp stalks shoot up on research plots in rural Boulder county.
Credit Ben Holmes / Centennial Seeds
An old saying among farmers is that you want your corn to be “knee-high by the Fourth of July.” That adage doesn’t necessarily apply to Colorado’s newest cash crop: industrial hemp. Unsurprisingly, considering the ubiquitous nickname given to hemp’s cousin marijuana, the plant grows like a weed.
Industrial hemp can grow more than ten feet tall. The plant, which can resemble marijuana grown for medical or recreational use, usually lacks THC, the chemical that gives users a high.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media
An historic planting of Colorado’s first state regulated industrial hemp crop is underway. More than 70 applications to grow the towering cousin of marijuana have come in to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
American consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the working conditions of the people who pick, pack and harvest their food. And retailers are responding. Wal-Mart is now paying Florida farm workers more for each pound of tomatoes picked. Whole Foods is using worker wages to rank the sustainability of the produce and flowers it sells.
When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.
You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.