UMES research hopes to make crop a mainstay.

Hemp could be Eastern Shore's next cash crop if growers can beat heat and pests

As Sadanand Dhekney, University of Maryland Eastern Shore associate professor, walks along a swathe of land lined with thriving hemp plants, he's looking at years of research into what might be Maryland's next cash crop.

With a specialty in plant breeding in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, he also directs the UMES Industrial Hemp Program aimed at possibly making hemp a mainstay crop on the Eastern Shore and beyond.

"Hemp was illegal in the United States for so long, so there's not much science-based information on it," Dhekney said. "Even though we're doing this research, we're still in the learning process like anyone else. We know more about the biomanagement practices and the biochemical processes in the individual plants."

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