OSU To Launch Major Hemp Research Center

Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center
Image: OSU

Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center will be the largest hemp research center in the USA say OSU officials.

Like much of the accelerated activity in the sector, the move by OSU has been triggered by the signing of 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, recognised it as an agricultural crop and removed it from the federal controlled substances list.

“We believe that Oregon State University is uniquely positioned to serve the global need for research-based understanding of hemp as a crop and for its use in new products,” said Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Vote Hemp’s 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report indicated Oregon had 7,808 acres under cultivation last year; making it the third biggest planting (albeit a distant third – the top states were Montana with 22,000 acres and Colorado with 21,578 acres cultivated). However, this year should see nearly six times as much hemp planted in Oregon as in 2018 – 46,219 acres.

Professor of crop and soil science at OSU Jay Noller will act as director and lead researcher for the new center.

“We have very few agencies nationally involved in understanding the agricultural, economic assessment and public health benefits of hemp,” said Professor Noller. “Oregon’s location on the 45th parallel is optimal for hemp growth and a unique hemp germplasm – the genetic material used for breeding – was developed in the state over the past several decades.”

In other hemp related news from the University, OSU announced it will be providing seed certification services for hemp; making it the only university in the nation at this point in time to certify hemp seed. Being confident in seed quality is important, particularly given the cost involved. The New York Times reports  hemp seed currently costs between $1.20 and $1.40 per seed.

OSU is no stranger to working with hemp, both in modern times and previous to prohibition of the crop. From the 1880s until 1932 when it was previously known as Oregon Agricultural College, it worked with U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists to host a national hemp research center.