South Carolina farmers are one step closer to planting their first hemp seeds in the ground.
The S.C. Department of Agriculture (SCDA) announced earlier this month that permits for industrial hemp cultivation are in the process of being issued.
Gov. Henry McMaster legalized industrial hemp cultivation earlier this year, allowing up to 20 farms to grow the crop for research purposes. The farmers who receive permits will each be allowed to grow up to 20 acres of the crop, according to the SCDA. About 120 farmers from across the state submitted an application to participate in the program.
“It’s still too early to say whether or not this program is going to be successful,” said SCDA Assistant Commissioner Clint Leach. “But I can tell you that we received more applications than we were expecting.”
He added that permits are being issued based on several factors, including which farmers have the greatest chances of success. “We only have 20 permits to hand out, so we’re focusing on experienced growers who have solid business plans.”
SCDA is also trying