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Hemp Seed: Searching for the Present and Future Opportunities

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Vice President of Strategic Development, International Hemp Solutions
    Biography
      Tom is a hemp industry veteran with a background in non- and for-profit business. As a graduate of the University of Maryland, he began his career in Washington D.C. working for the National Family Farm Coalition and Citizen Trade Campaign Ag Division. Following the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Tom relocated to Colorado and became the founding staff member of the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which assisted in the development of the public-private model that has played a key role in the growth of the US hemp industry thus far. Tom joined the Bija Team in November of 2017 and manages all aspects of operations ranging from licensing, procurement, and distribution of certified seed across Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Apart from his responsibilities to Bija Hemp and its parent company International Hemp Solutions, Tom serves on the Steering Committee of the Colorado Hemp Agricultural Advancement Group, the Banking and Insurance subcommittee of the Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan, the Colorado Hemp Research Authority Working Group, and on the board of the U.S. Hemp Growers Association.

    Abstract

    Given that the hemp industry in the United States is still nascent, certified seed offers American farmers a way to minimize the risk of growing hemp. For hemp, certification carries additional weight because of the issue of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) compliance. Certified seed establishes a standardized feedstock suitable for servicing the emerging U.S. industrial hemp supply chain. It also provides growers access to ancillary services, like affordable insurance, consistent yields, maturity ranges, and performance specifications. Seed certification refers to the replication of a known, distinguishable variety for commercial use. This ensured seed quality and preserves genetic purity and varietal identity. This is accomplished by managing the production of a given lot so that the seed that results is uniform for the grower. This is a fundamental part of our traditional agricultural system. The yield and resulting revenue potential of a standardized crop input is higher than that of what we traditionally refer to as an heirloom variety. It helps set standardization within a given commodity at a fundamental level. In the U.S., seed certification is overseen by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) , a crop improvement trade organization that develops and promotes certified seed varieties for use in commercial agricultural, through various State-level vested member agencies in conjunction State Departments of Agriculture . Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, AOSCA has convened the Variety Review Board, beginning the seed certification process for industrial hemp varieties. While the Interim Final Rule did not specifically address the issue of certified seed, the success of the American hemp experiment will hinge on the development of stable genetics and crop standardization, especially as the U.S. is faced with competition as it enters the global hemp economy from nations that have been leading hemp production for decades.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Implications of Certified Seed for the Industrial Hemp and Cannabis Industries

    2. Seed Nursery Stock: Production and Forecast Following the 2018 Farm Bill


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