GREAT FALLS - Whether it’s food, CBD Oil, or fiber from the stock the uses for hemp have expanded and Montana is reaping the reward.
Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer said they have seen a huge increase in production over the last two seasons.
“Last year we grew about twenty thousand acres,” said Schweitzer. “This season we grew over forty thousand, and nationally hemp was only made legal about a year ago.”
Kim Phillips, the founder of Plan-it hemp, started growing her own hemp in Montana but says there is more that needs to be done in terms of production options.
“There's a big disconnect in the infrastructure," said Phillips. "You have lots of growers, fabulous farmers that are growing tens of thousands of acres that have been growing in Montana and that's fabulous but if it can’t get into the walls or cycle of the industry that it's intended for it doesn't do us any good sitting out in the field.”
Schweitzer agrees, and told MTN News that the infrastructure hasn’t caught up yet.
As the crop is still relatively new in Montana there has been learning curves all around, which is why networking within the state has been important.
“It’s a good opportunity because farmers learn from farmers," said Schweitzer. "There’s a lot of people out here that claim to be hemp experts, but what I’ve learned is that nobody is a hemp expert when it comes to growing it in the field."
The Montana Department of Agriculture is also trying to keep up with the ever changing industry, according to hemp program coordinator Andy Gray.
"It’s an ever changing program and it will continue to be that way probably for the next 2, 3, 4, 5 years," said Gray.
Gray also says because hemp is a new territory for Montana there's plenty of room to grow, both figuratively and literally.
Gray said the Montana department of agriculture try keep the most up to date information as possible on their website.