Kelton, J. A.1; Conner, K.2; Kemble, J.3; Kesheimer, K.4; Pickens, J.5
1Regional Agent- Farm and Agribusiness Management, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Headland, AL, 36345
2Extension Specialist, ACES, Auburn, AL, 36849
3Extension Specialist, ACES, Auburn, AL, 36849
4Extension Specialist, ACES, Auburn, AL, 36849
5Extension Specialist, ACES, Mobile, AL, 36689


With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of commercial industrial hemp production, many Extension systems, including Alabama, were unprepared to provide production and risk management guidance for producers in the state.  To meet the needs of producers in the state until research could be established, a group of Extension personnel were assigned to the Hemp Action Team in 2019. The team was tasked with developing general resources through collaboration with experienced growers and Extension across the country that had been involved with hemp under the 2014 pilot project. In November 2019, a series of hemp meetings were conducted across the state to inform growers of what had been learned throughout the year.  While no state specific information was available, the team was able to provide risk management strategies, general production practices, financial considerations, and resources available to growers from other universities in the region.  Survey responses from attendees provided major challenges for 2019 crop production, particularly production and financial risks, which will be used to develop research trials in 2020.   Surveys also reported that a substantial number of growers in attendance (65%) did not utilize or were unaware of services available through Extension.  In addition to establishing research within Alabama to identify best pest management practices and variety selection, Extension must also focus on effective methods to reach a grower audience that has had little or no interaction with Extension services prior to hemp legalization.  

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