OSU says it’s Global Hemp Innovation Center is the nation’s largest hemp research center. It has ten locations in Oregon and even has four across Asia and Europe.
“It has so many beneficial uses that I am quite excited that it’s now becoming more and more mainstream as an agricultural commodity and going into products that we use,” Richard Roseberg, director of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, said.
While the Corvallis campus is the hub, the Rogue Valley plays a big part in the research.
“Southern Oregon Research and Expansion Center is our prime satellite location,” Jay Noller, director of the Global Hemp Innovation Center, said.
The researchers say the Rogue Valley headquarters is at about 42 degrees latitude, an optimal location to grow the crop.
“This year we had hemp research plots in the field, research trials, and so that’s what we’re doing. We are trying to learn about the crop and also try to be as helpful as we can to the ag community that’s growing it,” Roseberg said.
They’re meeting and working with growers.
“Trying to see what they’re doing on their operations. See what their questions and needs are in terms of information in term of seed certification,” Roseberg said.
The program launched this year. They planted a half-acre hemp trial field in Central Point, but in the future, hopes to expand.
“When you’re dealing with one of the best places in the world to produce it, and everybody would really like to have Oregon grown hemp, then the world is, some would say our oyster,” Noller said.
While the school’s research into hemp has only just begun, 25 departments are already involved, from agriculture and engineering, to pharmacy and public policy.
“We have faculty looking at the social dimensions of rural and urban areas as to the introduction of hemp products coming in and of course dispensaries and economics and the business and finance and marketing,” Noller said.
OSU began research after last year’s farm bill decriminalized hemp at the federal level. Researchers expect hemp to reach $2.3 billion in economic activity in Oregon by the end of the year.