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Lawmakers push to make hemp a more permanent crop in Wisconsin

CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) — Hemp continues to grow in Wisconsin after a pilot program was started two years ago. In the first year of the program, 250 farmers across the state signed up to grow the crop. This year, over 1,400 farmers applied for licenses.

“I firmly believe that this is Wisconsin’s comeback crop because we have seen such a huge surge of interest in individuals that want to grow it, process it, and sell,” said State Senator Patrick Testin (R).

Because of it’s increasing popularity, Testin helped author the Growing Opportunities Act that would turn the pilot into a permanent program in Wisconsin.

“This is a bipartisan issue and has the potential to help our farmers,” Testin said. The bill has passed in the senate and now faces the state assembly.

Red Door Family Farm is one of the farms that is currently growing the crop in Central Wisconsin. Owner Tenzin Botsford said he first learned about growing the crop through the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

“We were able to do it with fairly low risk for starting a new, totally different crop from what we’ve grown in the past,” Botsford said.

And while there have been some learning curves, Botsford remains optimistic about the future of hemp because of its many uses.

“It seems like there’s a lot of market opportunity for both the CBD and whatever happens in the future with fibers,” he said.

Sarah McGrew

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