FRUITA, Colo.-A major step forward in Colorado's emerging hemp industry, with a local connection.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture announces, three hemp seed varieties have passed the statewide THC validation and observation trial.
Meaning, our state has approved these three hemp seeds to be grown for mass production.
Earlier this year, the first certified hemp seed program in the country tested how certain hemp seeds grow across the diverse growing conditions found across Colorado.
One of the testing fields was located in Fruita.
CDA officials say the purpose of this testing was to insure that farmers buy a product that's pure, free of diseases and weeds, and meets the THC requirement of industrial hemp, which is .3% of THC content.
The CDA hopes to see industrial hemp become a big part of Colorado's agriculture.
"Eventually what we hope is that these varieties and others will become available at the same grain elevator where farmers are picking up his 5 bags of corn seed, 3 bags on pinto bean seed, two bags of alfalfa, and now maybe a bag of hemp seeds. So the goal is to make it, literally, apart of mainstream agriculture," says Duane Sinning, Assistant Director of Plant Industries at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
In the first year of Colorado's hemp program, about 200 acres were harvested in the state.
Last year, about 22,000 acres, and this year 58,000 acres were harvested.
The main hurdle right now, according to Sinning, is the number of available processing facilities that turn hemp into products.