Lincoln Land Community College is conducting field research at its Springfield campus to test agricultural hemp production practices. It is currently the only community college in Illinois doing such research.
The LLCC agriculture program planted five different varieties of cannabidiol (CBD) hemp to learn more about cultivating the crop and is now in the process of harvesting. The focus is on hemp grown for CBD used in such products as oils, lotions and tinctures.
“CBD hemp has generated a great deal of interest from the local ag industry as a potential crop to add to farms. However, it hasn’t been grown in Illinois since World War II,” explains Bill Harmon, professor of agronomy. “While detailed research and documentation was still happening for other crops, it wasn’t for hemp. Our research trial provides practical application for student learning and will help local farmers and landowners make evidence-based decisions on the viability of incorporating hemp into their agricultural practices. In operations, management, business, research and development, agriculture has a significant economic impact in our community.”
Agricultural hemp was approved for commercial production in Illinois in 2019. By law, agricultural hemp must contain less than 0.3% total delta-9 THC, the active compound in marijuana.
An Introduction to Agriculture Economics course starts Oct. 19, and registration for spring classes begins Oct. 22. LLCC offers a transfer degree in agriculture along with occupational degrees and certificates in agri-business management, precision agronomy, fertilizer and horticulture. More information is available at www.llcc.edu/agriculture.