By Clint Thompson
Less than half of hemp producers in Alabama have the go-ahead from the Alabama Department of Agriculture to plant this year’s crop, according to Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist Katelyn Kesheimer.
“A lot of people are still waiting on, can’t even get your seeds or your clones until you get approval from the Department of Ag. It seems to be weeks to get that. It’s not a quick turnaround time,” Kesheimer said. “I would have liked to have seen more plants in the ground now, just because it’s going to get real hot and the soil temperatures are going to jack up. But the Department of Ag is processing hundreds and hundreds of applications.”
Kesheimer said producers must have their green plants up and out of the ground by July 31. She expects planting to pick up over the next month or so.
“I think in the next four to six weeks, I’m hoping we’re going to get a lot more plants in the ground. We’re a little behind, just because waiting on paperwork and everything’s so new,” Kesheimer said. “It just takes forever to do stuff.”
Planting conditions are currently ideal for hemp producers in Alabama.
“We have enough moisture in the soil to give the plant a good start. People need to make sure they fertilize like they would any other plant. They don’t want to go in when it’s super hot. They’ll just burn up if it’s hot and they don’t have moisture; they’re just not going to last,” Kesheimer said. “We saw some plants go in, maybe July last year, and they didn’t last more than a couple of days. I think conditions are good right now while we still have some moisture and it’s not too hot.”