Iowa's hemp program is now in its second year, but the plant is much harder to grow than many anticipated. Earl Ramey, a grower in Madison County, is just one of 50 people growing hemp in Iowa.
"I worked all winter trying to develop some seed and move forward with it and developing clones and plants," Ramey said.
Ramey actually lost 70% of the seeds that he hand-planted outdoors. Seedlings he planted did much better though. He said he's not growing hemp as a cash crop; he's trying to develop seeds that'll thrive in Iowa soil.
"Getting that perfect seed is every person's dream who's growing it," Ramey said. "It's a frustrating plant." Before harvest, growers have to have the state test the plants to make sure THC levels fall below the legal limit. If they don't, they have to destroy the plants.
"I highly recommend that you need to be commercially testing your crop through the growing season and watching that THC trend so you can predict when to harvest it before it crosses that magic no-go line," Iowa's Hemp Administrator Robin Pruisner said.
Read more at weareiowa.com