From left, Jeff Kostuik, Garry Meier, Wendy Mosher, and Pat Miller during the "Hemp Seed Opportunities and Challenges" panel. They discussed how hemp education and seed quality and availability are important issues. (John Reidy photos)

Chicago, IL (December 11, 2019) – The “Hemp Seed Opportunities and Challenges” session Wednesday during the American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) CSS & Seed Expo 2019 provided an update about one of the hottest topics in the seed industry.

ASTA is leading efforts to develop policy and education to guide the industry with a high amount of interest in the crop and the emerging market of hemp seed.

“Interest in hemp is real,” says Garry Meier, a panelist during the session and president of Hemp Genetics International, a Canadian company started in 2008 which focuses on developing hemp genetics for grain production.

The removal of hemp as a federally controlled substance in the 2018 Farm Bill has had widespread impacts.

A hemp seed working group was formed about a year ago and has been meeting monthly to discuss hemp-related issues. The group has been working to help the grower community learn about regulations and policy surrounding hemp seed, says Pat Miller, ASTA director, state affairs.

Hemp production estimates in 2020 include 100 state and tribal plans, with 6,700 producers under the state and tribal plans and 1,000 producers under the USDA plan, Miller says.

ASTA’s hemp policy was developed in June 2018, Miller says.

The hemp panel discussion drew a packed room with a high amount of interest in the topic.

The hemp industry desperately needs the expertise the seed industry can provide, says Wendy Mosher, president and CEO of New West Genetics, Inc.. Mosher chairs ASTA’s hemp seed working group.

The market for hemp is for the flower and a modest amount for grain, Mosher says. Hemp grain is highly nutritious and one of the healthiest that can be added to your diet, she says.

Mosher points out the point of hemp regulations is safety, providing consumers with confidence that safety is built in.

During the session, Mosher explained various aspects of hemp breeding, which she describes as a breeder’s dream because so much can be done with the crop.

Market development and education are part of the needs looking forward, Mosher says.

Hemp Genetics International has created six of its own hemp varieties. Director of U.S. and International Operations Jeff Kostuik says no one single variety will meet all the needs of growers.

He says they’ve learned a lot about hemp production over the years and continue to learn a lot about it.

Keri Carstens of Corteva Agriscience talked about seed applied technology stewardship and sustainability during one of six stops on the Seed Treatment Educational Tour.

The hemp session was part of a full day of activities during the conference. The Seed Expo Educational Tour provided six companies with the opportunity to share information about seed treatment.

BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, Eurofins BioDiagnostics, SGS, and Syngenta gave 10-minute presentations about the latest advancements in seed treatment.

The Seed Expo concludes early Thursday afternoon as sessions continue all day. A second Seed Expo Educational Tour will provide information about equipment innovations. Tour stops are scheduled to include Bratney Companies, Donaldson Torit, KSi, Neutec Group, Prairie Engineering, USC, and VMek.

For updates from the Seed Expo, follow Seed Today on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

See ASTA’s webpage for more information and full schedule details.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor

Other Seed Today articles from throughout the week include:

Equipment Innovations Tour Provides Look At Latest Technology During ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/19

Seed Treatment Educational Tour Returns As Part Of ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/18

ASTA Debuts Ag Tech Innovations Showcase During CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/17

New Breeding Technologies Discussed As ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Wraps Up 12/12

Seed Company Leaders Discuss Thriving Amongst the Giants During ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 12/10

ASTA Announces Winner of Third Annual “Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest 12/10

ASTA's CSS & Seed Expo 2019 Starts With Presentations Including "Field Applications in Digital Agriculture" 12/09