GREAT FALLS – Industrial hemp is growing in Montana and experts say there is a lot of potential for that growth to continue.
The Montana Farmers Union hosted a panel discussion on Saturday afternoon to talk about industrial hemp trials and what needs to happen to make large-scale hemp operations legal and viable.
Under a two-year trial program, the number of Montana farmers growing industrial hemp increased from 13 in the first year to 63 farmers in the second year.
Panelist Kirby Hancock, founder of Transformative Ecologies, said hemp has a big role to play in a greener future.
“Food, clothing, fuel, it runs the gambit and all of those being environmentally-friendly can play a huge part in the future of our next generation,” said Hancock.
He added one of the biggest barriers to large-scale hemp production is building the infrastructure needed to process it.
Panelists brought several examples of hemp products that ranged from clothing to building materials.
The convention focused on the theme of moving agriculture forward and included some workshops on cattle handling as well.
Vendors were able to display the latest in farm technology and services.
Farmers Union members were also able to take care of business by discussing policy, by-laws, and swear-in new officers.
Members said they value getting a firsthand look at the future of agriculture.
-Joe Huisinga reporting for MTN News