MAR 22, 2024 9:50 AM PDT

Harnessing Hemp: Empowering Native American Economies

How can hemp production help boost local Native American economies? This is what a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture hopes to achieve as they recently awarded this grant to the Global Hemp Innovation Center at Oregon State University (OSU) to foster collaboration with 13 Native American Tribes across the western United States, including California, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon with the goal of creating economic stimuli for those communities while improving hemp production.

“There is still significant interest and potential in industrial uses of hemp,” said Dr. Jeffrey Steiner, who is the director of OSU’s Global Hemp Innovation Center and has significant experience in academia with the USDA. “But it’s critical that investment decisions be based on sound science and business planning to build out and scale up economic development opportunities with hemp, particularly to benefit Tribal nations and other American rural communities.”

The grant comes with four primary objectives in achieving collaboration with the 13 Tribal nations, including educational opportunities, technology development, building trade networks, and ensuring product quality. This grant comes as the 2018 Farm Bill helped legalize hemp, leading to hemp production reaching $824 million across the United States in 2021.

Additionally, this grant helps build on the ongoing partnership between the Native American community and hemp production, including medicinal purposes and economic growth, with some referring to this as the “New Green Revolution”.

How will this grant help improve hemp production and foster connections with Native American communities in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

Sources: Oregon State University, Oregon State University (1), United States Department of Agriculture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of "Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey".
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