Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Arkansas Hemp Genetics, LLC (AHG) was recently awarded a coveted research partnership with the University of Arkansas to conduct the first industrial hemp flower research since its prohibition after World War II
Soon after this partnership was conveyed, the Arkansas State Plant Board awarded the company one of the first Hemp Grow and Processor Combination Licenses for hemp flower research and production in Arkansas.
According to co-founder and investor Hayden McIlroy, the new facility will be a key piece of infrastructure to allow the new hemp CBD oil industry to take root in Northwest Arkansas.
The CBD market is predicted to be worth $2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020 with $450 million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources. That’s a 700 percent increase from 2016, according to Hemp Business Journal.
AHG plans to begin January 1, 2019 with construction of a commercial hemp flower extraction facility in rural Madison County, and a demonstration cultivation farm near Goshen, Arkansas. “The new facility will be at the forefront of innovation for the Hemp industry in Arkansas,” says Bill Morgan, co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for AHG.
The newly minted licenses allow AHG to grow up to five acres (indoor and outdoor) of hemp during the pilot research program with the University of Arkansas, Division of Horticulture.
During this initial year, AHG will be conducting trials with up to twelve hemp cultivars that will be evaluated based on two key cannabinoids (THC and CBD) for potency and yield. Interested farmers and the community will be invited to two public field days during the 2019 crop year.
For hemp to be legally grown in Arkansas, it must test below .30% THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) before it is considered “legal” hemp. If it tests above .30% THC it is considered “illegal” and can be destroyed by state officials under current regulations. If passed, the new Farm Bill would de-schedule hemp from a Schedule One drug on the DEA list of illegal drugs, to a commodity crop like corn or soybeans.