Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced $392,265 in grants to three agriculture nonprofits to fund projects aimed at growing fiber and food hemp markets, sales, and awareness in Pennsylvania.
"Pennsylvania has been making history, building a new hemp industry from roots up," said Sec. Redding. "These grants feed the growth of an industry that was once a staple of Pennsylvania's economy and is once again growing opportunities for new businesses, farm income, jobs, and climate-smart, environmentally sound products."
Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council Opens In A New Window– $56,000
Funds a campaign to promote the benefits of hemp and create new markets for hemp-based products. The council is building a dynamic collaboration among farmers and other businesses, investors, government agencies, and communities to bring hemp back to Pennsylvania's farms.
U.S. Ecological Advanced Research & Conservation Hub Hemp Certificate Program for Disadvantaged Communities (USEARCH) -- $20,500
Funds development of an educational program for disadvantaged communities including youth, veterans, and women to enable them to get involved in the hemp industry. USEARCH is a Mayfield, Lackawanna County-based nonprofit focused on researching agricultural technologies and products derived through them.
Vytal Plant Science ResearchOpens In A New Window -- $315,765
To introduce a STEM curriculum to high schools and universities to effectively engage in industrial hemp production, management, and cultivation by promoting and marketing industrial hemp for its many uses such as food, fiber, fuel, industrial, and personal care products.
Vytal is a non-profit that sponsors research at Penn State Harrisburg's Central Pennsylvania Research and Teaching Laboratory for BiofuelsOpens In A New Window.
Grant funds reimburse up to half of project costs, and were awarded in a competitive process, with special consideration for projects that leverage other funding and public-private partnerships.
These matching grants are just one way Pennsylvania is feeding growth in the new hemp industry. Other support has included creating state-level Specialty Crop Block grants through the historic PA Farm Bill when federal funding for hemp was not yet available, funding key research and development at state higher ed institutions, and convening the PA Hemp Steering CommitteeOpens In A New Window to foster relationships among colleges and university researchers, growers, processors, investors, and insurers. With more than $500,000 awarded since the beginning of the Shapiro Administration, the department's grant investments in growing a vibrant hemp industry have now topped $1.5 million.