Industrial hemp production
Industrial hemp was legalized federally with the 2018 farm bill and in Georgia with the passage of House Bill 213 in May 2019. The market for CBD-related products derived from industrial hemp is projected to reach $24 billion in the U.S. by 2023. In 2020 Georgia planted its first legal hemp crop in many decades. Approximately 80 farmers were granted licenses to produce hemp during the 2020 season. UGA horticulturists confirm a robust program to develop research-based recommendations for variety performance, fertility programs, pathogen and pest management and general production practices is necessary to help with this young industry. In June 2019 variety trials for industrial hemp grown for CBD production were initiated at three UGA research sites (Blairsville, Watkinsville and Tifton). These locations represent unique climate zones within the state. In 2020 trials were expanded significantly and focused on northeast and southwest Georgia. They conducted fumigant comparisons, variety trials and fertility studies. The data generated from these trials is the only research-based information generated for Georgia production of industrial hemp and is important for this small, but growing industry.