MADISON

Industrial hemp is an option for state farmers for the first time since lawmakers lifted a ban on hemp this fall.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has until March to create regulations for the hemp industry, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

The state will likely form an application process and require farmers to obtain seeds through the department, said Allison Pratt-Szeliga, a researcher from the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.

“I suppose technically it’s possible that folks could be planting in spring,” Pratt-Szeliga said. But farmers interested in growing hemp still face barriers to break into the business, according to industry experts.

Farmers won’t be able to rely on selling their crop to the closest grain elevator and will want to have a contract before growing hemp, said Adam Kuzcer, a member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau board of directors.

The first year will be more experimental until a larger infrastructure for the crop can be developed, Kuzcer said.

Farmers will likely have an easier time getting into the market in 2019, Pratt-Szeliga said.

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