More than 20 Bucks County farms are now planting, growing and harvesting hemp. The key to succeeding with this multiuse crop is careful monitoring, reports Peg Quann for the Bucks County Courier Times.
Fred Hagen grows hemp at his Sugar Bottom Farm in Buckingham Township. He believes it is a “miracle” plant with upsides that include pain relief, cancer treatment and even solving climate change.
According to Hagen, the plant was grown 8,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia for medicinal purposes. “It was one of the earliest plants grown in the Americas,” he continued. “They grew it in Jamestown [from] seeds came over on the Mayflower.”
Hagen’s farm includes a 20-acre field of hemp. The 2021 growing season will be the crop’s third year under his cultivation. The plants take about 90 days’ growth to harvest.
Hemp plants contain two chemicals that affect humans. One is cannabidiol (CBD), which can be safely administered for analgesic purposes. The other, tetrahydrocannabinol (TCE), is the substance in marijuana that produces psychoactive effects.
Presence of TCE is the source of much of the controversy surrounding the commercial availability of hemp. Pennsylvania law, however, requires steady monitoring of crops to ensure TCE levels are low. In addition, hemp growers must register and obtain permits before planting.
More on this agribusiness is in the Bucks County Courier Times.