US (VT): Vermont Technical College to launch certificate program for hemp production

On a leisurely drive along Whipple Hollow Road in the summer, drivers will enjoy bright, rolling valleys of goldenrod, scenic mountain views and now aromatic, emerald fields of hemp.

Beginning this fall, Vermont Technical College students will be the first in Vermont to be able to learn how to grow CBD and CBG hemp from the staff at Northeast Hemp Commodities and earn a hemp cultivation certificate as part of their studies.

Patrick Fifield came from Fifield Family Farms in Middlebury, where he helped milk many Holstein cows, and after graduating from VTC and spending some time at other agricultural operations decided he would invest in the hemp business with his friends and founder Tyler Highter.

And after meeting VTC Professor Christine Motyka at a cannabis conference, Fifield agreed to collaborate with his alma mater and help teach blossoming young hemp growers how to grow Vermont’s newest crop along with Motyka, who will lead the course.

“She has spent the last few years working with CBD, but spent time working at the Champlain Valley Dispensaries as well,” said Molly Willard, project manager of the Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems, CEWD for Vermont Technical College. Willard said, “She’ll be using Patrick and the lab here for some of the opportunities.”

Creating the program was a challenge though: Lawyers advised against the program while industrial hemp was still considered a Schedule 1 drug along with THC-hemp, as it could negatively affect the federal funding for the program and the college if they were using those dollars for technically illegal activity.


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